Mud Bog Returns to Big Sky Country State Fair

For immediate release: July 22, 2021

Big Sky Country State Fair will bring the roar of engines to Bozeman on July 24 as part of its show lineup. Presented by the Mountaineers 4×4 Club and The Moose, the Mud Bog returns with all its dirt-loving action all afternoon.

See the full press release here.

Media contact:
Amanda Hartman, Gallatin County Fairgrounds Marketing & Sponsorship Coordinator

County Wide Burn Ban in Effect in Gallatin County


For immediate release: July 20, 2021

Due to historically dry fuel levels, ongoing drought conditions and a lack of firefighting resources regionally, the Gallatin County Commission has signed an emergency ordinance banning burning and other activities that increase the risk of wildfire in Gallatin County.

The ordinance went into effect immediately and will remain in effect for 90 days until the commission rescinds it.

See the full ordinance here.

“Since our firefighters are out there doing their best to protect our communities and homes, and putting their lives at risk, the rest of us can do our part to prevent starting any new fires,” said Commissioner Zach Brown. “We’re on track for really rough conditions and relief is not exactly in sight.”

The following acts are prohibited in Gallatin County, excluding only those lands under the jurisdiction of federal, state or municipal agencies:

  • Open burning
  • Recreational fires, excluding petroleum-fueled devices that can be turned immediately on and off with no element that continues to burn
  • Use of any firework, explosive or incendiary device
  • Smoking outside an enclosed vehicle or building, unless the smoking occurs in an area at least three feet in diameter that is clear of all flammable material
  • Operating motorized vehicles off a road or trail, except for an agricultural or utility activity (e.g. maintaining livestock, maintaining water facilities, or utility maintenance work), and forestry management on private land (e.g. thinning and clearing trees and brush) for fuel reduction and fire mitigation.

Although not prohibited by this ordinance, people are also recommended to refrain from shooting firearms outside of developed shooting ranges clear of natural vegetation.

Again, these restrictions are for Gallatin County. Please check with your city or town for local restrictions. And note that additional restrictions are going into effect on the Custer Gallatin National Forest this week, most notably that there will be no campfires allowed whatsoever, even in designated sites.

Gallatin County Commissioners took a number of factors into account when enacting this burn ban.

The Energy Release Component values for Gallatin County indicate that vegetation in the area is at historically dry levels and vulnerable to rapid fire growth. These values for Gallatin County have exceeded the historical maximums and are projected to continue exceeding the maximums until fall.

Graph provided by the Northern Rockies Coordination Center.

Montana’s firefighting resources are stretched thin due to numerous wildfires burning across the region, impacting the ability to respond to a large wildfire if one were to start in our area.

And ongoing high heat, high winds, low humidity and high fire danger are predicted to continue in the short and long term.

“No one wants a fire in our community and now is the time for people think about what they are doing and help keep our area fire free,” said Patrick Lonergan, Gallatin County Chief of Emergency Management and Fire.

Lonergan notes that activities being banned have all started large fires in our area in recent years.

“Fires often start from routine activities that the person never thought twice about. This is a summer to think twice about what you are doing and avoid activities that could result in a fire,” he said.

Sheriff Dan Springer said he supports the commission’s decision to enact the burn ban and urges citizens and visitors to be responsible.

“All public safety resources across the state are spread thin due to multiple fires and multiple evacuations,” Springer said. “With the public’s cooperation, we know we can limit the likelihood of having significant fires in our community.”

Media contact:
Whitney Bermes, Gallatin County Communications Coordinator
Cell: 406-595-8963

4-H Livestock Animals in the Barns All Week At Big Sky Country State Fair


For immediate release: July 19, 2021

The number one reason people come to the fair is to see the animals! This year fair goers can have the experience all week long with 4-H livestock in the barns Wednesday through Sunday.

See the full press release here.

Media contact:
Amanda Hartman, Gallatin County Fairgrounds Marketing & Sponsorship Coordinator

Upcoming Public Meetings on Draft of Gallatin County Growth Policy

Gallatin County Planning Department

For immediate release: July 14, 2021

The latest draft of the Gallatin County Growth Policy will be going before the Gallatin County Commission for review and public comment over the next few weeks.
The hearings will be held in the Community Room of the Gallatin County Courthouse, 311 W. Main St. in downtown Bozeman and via Zoom. The Zoom meeting information for each hearing can be found at the links below. *Please note – the meeting information will be posted on these links the Friday before the meetings occur.*

Tuesday, July 20 – 9 AM:

Tuesday, July 27 – 9 AM:

The draft document is available on the project website at

If you are unable to attend any of these meetings and would like to submit comments, please feel free to send comments directly to the project manager, Garrett McAllister, at
Media contact:
Garrett McAllister, Long Range Planner and Project Manager with Gallatin County Planning Department

Big Sky Country State Fair Offering Motorized Rides Within Fairgrounds

For immediate release: July 13, 2021

In partnership with the Bozeman business Qualicare, the Big Sky Country State Fair has created a program that provides motorized cart rides to destination points within the fairgrounds.

See the full press release here.

Media contact:
Amanda Hartman, Gallatin County Fairgrounds Marketing & Sponsorship Coordinator

American Ninja Warriors Coming to Big Sky Country State Fair

For immediate release: July 9, 2021

The American Minor League Ninja Course is coming to town! If you enjoy watching America Ninja Warrior on TV this event is for you; come watch, compete and see ninjas from the show compete! Famous Ninjas from the show Cowboy Ninja Lance Pekus and Latter Day Ninja Dennis Paulsen Jr will be here to show off their skills, sign autographs and take pictures!

See the full press release here.

Media contact:
Amanda Hartman, Gallatin County Fairgrounds Marketing & Sponsorship Coordinator

Gallatin County 911 and MSU Announce Merger of Emergency Dispatch Centers

For immediate release: July 1, 2021

Gallatin County 911 and Montana State University are proud to announce that their emergency dispatch centers have officially merged operations, a move that will better serve our entire community moving forward.

The county and MSU recently signed an inter-local agreement solidifying the merger. The move means that MSU dispatch responsibilities will be transferred to Gallatin County 911. As part of the merger, MSU is transferring four current dispatch staff members and two additional budgeted positions to Gallatin County 911.

Discussions about potentially merging dispatch centers began in 2017. In May of 2019, MSU dispatch moved to the Gallatin County 911 facility but remained a separate entity. The agreement to officially merge was signed by both parties in June, and the merge was completed July 1.

So what does this merge mean for the public?

It increases the number of staff members at Gallatin County 911 to better serve the entire community. It also increases staffing and oversite for MSU operations. Instead of relying on four staff members to cover operations, there will be 10 initially covering MSU operations with an additional eight in training. Once off training, there will be 18 staff members to cover all dispatching and 911 services for Gallatin County.

This also gives the students, staff and visitors of MSU the ability to receive services from dispatchers who are fully trained in dispatching law enforcement, fire and EMS. The MSU Police Department will also gain access to Gallatin County 911’s Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and Records Management System (RMS), allowing them to free up resources by not having to maintain their own systems and to focus on other pressing needs.

“We’re excited to complete this merge and welcome the MSU dispatch staff as official members of our Gallatin County 911 team,” said Gallatin County 911 Director Tim Martindale. “The group that we are bringing over to join us are all exceptional individuals, and we’re grateful to have them. We’re committed to providing the same great service that we offer to our current users to the students, faculty, staff and visitors at MSU. We’re also eager to become a part of the MSU family.”

“The safety and security of our campus community is MSU’s top concern, and this merger with Gallatin County 911 will keep both the university and our community safe,” said Kevin Gillilan, chief of University Police. “We look very much forward to working with our partners at 911 to better serve our community.”

Media contacts:
Tim Martindale, Director of Gallatin County 911

Michael Becker, Director of MSU News Services

Gallatin County Commission Bans Fireworks, Open Burning in Two Fire Districts


For immediate release: June 30, 2021

Due to dangerous fire conditions caused by a continued drought in southwest Montana, the Gallatin County Commission has banned fireworks, recreational burning, and open burning in two high fire hazard areas in the county ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

On Wednesday, commissioners approved an emergency ordinance that bans those fire-related activities in the Big Sky Fire District and in the Hebgen Basin Fire District in the West Yellowstone area.

See the full ordinance here.

The emergency ordinance is effective immediately. It will automatically expire after 90 days unless rescinded sooner by the county commission.

Most fire districts in Gallatin County have also banned permitted open burning within their districts. The latest information on which districts currently have bans can be found at

Fireworks are always prohibited on public lands such as U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.

The Town of West Yellowstone has prohibited fireworks within town limits over the Fourth of July weekend.

Gallatin County’s other cities and towns have their own fireworks regulations in place. Know what fireworks restrictions are in your area before considering shooting off fireworks. Please contact your local agencies for more information about specific rules that they have in place.

The Gallatin County Commission urges everyone to celebrate the Fourth of July safely and responsibly this year.

Gallatin County Agencies Holding Press Conference to Discuss Fire Concerns Heading into Fourth of July Weekend

For immediate release: June 29, 2021

Representatives from agencies across Gallatin County will be holding a press conference on Wednesday, June 30. Officials will discuss current fire conditions in the area, fire and fireworks restrictions that are in place, and precautions to take during with our area’s dry conditions to safely celebrate over the upcoming Fourth of July weekend. They will also take questions from the media.

The press conference will be held at 2:30 PM on Wednesday, June 30 in the Community Room on the third floor of the Gallatin County Courthouse (311 W. Main St. in downtown Bozeman) It will also be live streamed from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

Representatives from the following agencies will be speaking at the conference:

Please note that the Gallatin County Commission is meeting at 1:30 PM to approve a fire restrictions ordinance for certain areas of the county. While we anticipate the meeting will be done in time for the press conference to start at 2:30 PM, there’s always a chance the meeting could go long and we may have to start the press conference a little late.

If you have questions about the press conference, please contact Gallatin County Communications Coordinator Whitney Bermes at or 406-595-8963 (cellphone).