Victim of Vehicle Accident Identified

On Thursday, September 28, 2017, at approximately 6:25AM, the Gallatin County 911 Dispatch Center received a call from a citizen reporting a vehicle on its side in the ditch near 774 Reese Creek Road.  The caller stated the motor was cold and there was no one around the vehicle.

The Montana Highway Patrol responded to the scene of the accident.  Upon investigation, the driver was located away from the vehicle. The driver was deceased. The Trooper then requested a coroner to respond.

The Gallatin County Coroner’s Office identified the driver as 60-year-old Ellen Cerovski of Belgrade.  The cause and manner of death are under investigation.

Public Meetings Scheduled for Emergency Plans

GCEM Media Release

Release: 170927-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 582-2395

Public Meetings Scheduled for Emergency Plans

Bozeman, MT – Gallatin County Emergency Management has scheduled a series of initial public meetings for the revision of the Hazard Mitigation and Community Wildfire Protection Plans.  Both of these documents will be updated over the next 18 months and combined into a single document that identifies the hazards faced in our communities and potential methods to help mitigate the hazards.  In the next month a series of 1 hour initial meetings will be held around the county to outline the process, explain the benefits and answer questions.  Later in 2018 a series of more in depth public meetings will be held to explain the hazards identified by the County’s consulting firm and work through prioritizing and selecting mitigation actions.  This process is intended to by a community effort and anyone with interest is encouraged to attend a public meeting.

More information is available on our Mitigation Update page.

Community Date &Time Location More Info
Belgrade Tuesday, October 17
2:00 pm
Central Valley Fire District
205 East Main, Belgrade
Bozeman Tuesday, October 24
7:00 pm
Bozeman Fire Station 3
1705 Vaquero, Bozeman
Manhattan & Amsterdam Tuesday, October 17
11:00 am
Gallatin Conservation District
120 North 5th, Manhattan
Three Forks, Willow Creek & Clarkston Tuesday, October 17
9:00 am
Three Forks Fire Station13 East Date, Three Forks
West Yellowstone Thursday, October 12
9:30 am
West Yellowstone City Hall
440 Yellowstone, West Yellowstone
Big Sky Thursday, October 12
1:30 pm
Big Sky Water and Sewer
561 Little Coyote Rd, Big Sky
Gallatin Gateway Thursday, October 12
4:00 pm
Gallatin Gateway Fire Station
320 Webb, Gallatin Gateway

Emergency Alert System Test Wednesday

GCEM Media Release

Release:  170919-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 582-2395

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be conducting a test of the Emergency Alert System nationwide this Wednesday.  The test will be carried on television and radio stations at 12:20 pm on Wednesday, September 27th here in Montana.  The test will not be transmitted over the NOAA Weather Radio System or by the Wireless Emergency Alert system on cellular phones.

More information on the Emergency Alert System can be obtained at

Full FEMA release below:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in partnership with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on September 27, 2017, at 2:20 PM EDT.  If rescheduling is necessary, the alternate test date is October 4, 2017 at 2:20 PM EDT.

The EAS test will be broadcast through:

  • Radio broadcast stations;
  • Television broadcast stations;
  • Cable systems;
  • Wireline video systems;
  • Direct broadcast satellite service providers; and
  • Digital audio radio service providers.

The EAS test message will read as follows:

“This is a National Test of the Emergency Alert System.  This is only a test.  Broadcast and cable operators in your area have developed this system in voluntary cooperation with FEMA, the FCC and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency.  If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the alert tone. This concludes this National Test of the Emergency Alert System.”

The EAS test will address accessibility in the following ways:

  • The emergency test message will be transmitted in English and Spanish via audio and text so that individuals with disabilities and limited English proficiency will have options for reading the message.
  • In addition to the EAS visual message being displayed in a manner consistent with the FCC’s current rules (that is, at the top of the TV screen, or where it will not interfere with other visual messages), the message is required to be displayed in a size, color, contrast, location, and speed that is readily readable and understandable.
  • The FCC’s current rules require that the EAS message will not contain overlapping lines of EAS text, and will not extend beyond the viewable display.

An American Sign Language (ASL) video about this test can be found at this link:

(Gallatin County, Mont.)
On Friday, September 22, 2017, at approximately 4:00PM, the Gallatin County 911 Dispatch Center received a call from a passing motorist on I-90 at the bridge over the Gallatin River. The motorist stated they were certain they had seen a small child/infant, or possibly a doll, with blonde hair, dressed in a red jumpsuit, floating face down in the Gallatin River.

Two deputies immediately deployed to the bridge and the Four Corners Fishing Access outside Manhattan to contain the outermost search limits.

Over 20 members from various Gallatin County Search and Rescue Teams, along with Reach Air Ambulance, searched the section of the Gallatin River between the interstate and the Four Corners Fishing Access. No bodies or dolls were found, but a red couch cushion was located down-river from the I-90 bridge, which may account for the sighting. The search was concluded at 7:00PM.

No missing person reports have been received.

Wet Weather Brings Fall Burning Opportunitites

GCEM Media Release

Media Release:  170919-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 582-2395

Wet Weather Brings Fall Burning Opportunities

Bozeman, MT – With fall weather setting in many fire departments are opening up burning for those with burn permits.  With increased precipitation the ability for individuals to conduct safe fall burning increases, but everyone is reminded to use safe controlled burn practices as large wildfires are still possible.  Anyone wishing to conduct a controlled burn should visit to see if your fire department is allowing burning and to activate your burn permit.

The following fire departments are allowing open burning as of Tuesday (9/19) at 11:00 am.

  • Big Sky Fire Department
  • Bozeman Fire Department
  • Fort Ellis Fire Service Area
  • Gallatin Gateway Fire Department
  • Hebgen Basin Fire District
  • Hyalite Fire Department
  • Three Forks Fire Department

The following fire departments are currently closed to open burning.

  • Amsterdam Fire Department
  • Belgrade Fire Department
  • Bridger Canyon Fire District
  • Central Valley Fire District
  • Clarkston Fire Service Area
  • Gallatin River Ranch Fire District
  • Manhattan Fire District
  • Sedan Fire District
  • Willow Creek Fire District

Remember to burn safely!  Gallatin County is no stranger to fall wildfires.

Information on safely burning with a burn permit is available at:


Ricocheting Bullets

At approximately 2:00 am on Sunday, September 10, 2017, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of Sourdough Road and Goldstein Road for a report of gun shots fired.  An errant bullet entered a residence after ricocheting off of a road sign.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office believes the shots were fired from a moving vehicle and are asking any witnesses to come forward with information related to this incident.  This reckless act could very well have cost someone their life; the bullet entered dangerously close to the homeowners.

Anyone with information regarding this event are encouraged to call the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Detective Division at 406-582-2121.  Information leading to the arrest of the suspect(s) may be eligible for a Crimestopper reward.

Bad Day for Legs in Gallatin County

 (Gallatin County, Mont.) Monday lived up to its reputation sending Sheriff’s Search and Rescue to three events and three people to the hospital with leg injuries.  The first at 9:37 a.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch center received a 911 call reporting an injured angler on the Madison River approximately 2 miles north of West Yellowstone. The angler, a 74-year-old male from Missoula Montana, had suffered a possible broken leg after a fall along the river. GPS coordinates retrieved from the 911 call indicated that the angler was located just inside the western boundary of Yellowstone National Park. Rangers in charge of the event requested the assistance of Gallatin County Search and Rescue.

Personnel from the Sheriff’s Office, the West Yellowstone Division of Gallatin County Search and Rescue, West Yellowstone Police Department, Montana Department of Livestock, Forest Service Law Enforcement, and Hebgen Basin Fire Department responded to assist with the rescue.

Rescuers were able to locate the injured angler and rangers on scene administered pain management medication necessary for the transport out. The rescue required the use of a single-wheeled litter to traverse a boggy wetlands area before transferring the angler to rescue sled being pulled by a four-wheeler. It was then necessary to use low-angle rescue techniques to assist the rescuers in traversing a short distance up a steep incline. The injured angler was then transferred to a waiting Hebgen Basin Fire Department ambulance for transport to the Big Sky Medical Center for medical evaluation.

The second at 11:46 A.M. when report of a 57 year old Bozeman woman bucked off a horse on Chesnut Mountain east of Bozeman.  She was transported out by a member of her party that had gone to get a four wheeler before calling 911 so SAR resources were canceled just prior to arriving at the trail head.  She was transported to the hospital with fractured ribs and a leg injury.  The third at 1:45 P.M. for a 23 year old Bozeman man near the Bridger Ridge Trail who fell and injured an ankle and was unable to walk.  Seven volunteer rescuers hiked the 4 miles up Sypes Canyon and brought him down using a wheeled litter after using ropes to navigate a steep section of terrain.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind everyone to be prepared, be careful, and be ready for the unexpected.  Knowing the terrain, wearing the appropriate gear and carrying a reliable communications device can go a long way towards safety. A seemingly minor injury can easily limit mobility enough to make it impossible to get out of the backcountry without assistance.  Photos courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff / Search and Rescue.


Have a Fire Safe Weekend

GCEM Media Release

Media Release:  170901-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 582-2395

Have a Fire Safe Weekend

Bozeman, MT – Everyone in Gallatin County is encouraged to use safe practices with fire over the weekend and for the remainder of fire season.  The conditions in many areas are very conducive to wildfires starting and rapidly growing into large devastating fires.  Gallatin County officials are asking everyone to limit their recreational fire use even in locations where they are still allowed.  “With much of Western Montana inundated with large wildfires, we don’t want to add Gallatin County to that list and we need everyone’s help to avoid wildfires here,” according to Patrick Lonergan, Gallatin County Emergency Manager.

Patrick Lonergan explained, “With wildfires burning across the West, and Hurricane Harvey in Texas, emergency resources are stretched thin.  The lack of resource availability combined with the vegetation and weather conditions creates a situation that makes catching wildfires when they are small very challenging.  The best way to prevent a devastating wildfire from occurring in Gallatin County is for our community to keep a fire from starting.  Officials are asking our community to avoid starting fires and if they do have a recreational fire, use extreme caution.”

Open burning in Gallatin County is currently closed and the Custer-Gallatin National Forest, Montana DNRC and Montana FWP are enacting Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Saturday on their lands within Gallatin County.  Individuals recreating on these public lands should check with the respective agencies on the exact restrictions, but generally this restricts the use of campfires and smoking outdoors.  Recreational fires are still allowed, but discouraged, on private property in Gallatin County that are not classified forest lands (classified forest lands are regulated by DNRC & USFS).


Below is a detailed release of the fire restrictions taking effect this weekend:

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Implemented Across the Zone

Thursday, August 31, 2017—Beginning at 00:01 a.m. Saturday, September 2, 2017 Stage I Fire Restrictions will be extended to include most areas in the South Central Montana Fire Zone on federal, state and some county lands.  Yellowstone National Park, the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness and the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area will not go into Stage 1 fire restrictions at this time.  The agencies were prompted to implement fire restrictions over a broader area because there was an increase in fire activity east of the Continental Divide since Wednesday, which further depleted firefighting resources.  In addition, red flag warnings are predicted.

In summary:

  • Custer Gallatin National Forest The national forest is in stage 1 fire restrictions with an exemption for campfires in improved recreation sites with metal fire rings starting Saturday 9-2-17 at 00:01.  The Absaroka Beartooth and Lee Metcalf Wildernesss are excluded from restrictions at this time.  The East Zone is already in Stage 1 restrictions.
  • BLM lands in both Park and Gallatin Counties will move into Stage 1 restrictions with an exemption for campfires in improved recreation sites with metal fire rings starting Saturday 9-2-17 at 00:01
  • Fish Wildlife and Parks lands which includes fishing access sites and state parks: Park County sites are currently under Stage 1 Restrictions with no campfires. Gallatin County sites will move into Stage 1 restrictions with no campfires starting Saturday 9-2-17 at 00:01
  • Department of Natural Resources classified forest lands in Park and Gallatin County will move into Stage 1 restrictions with no campfires starting Saturday 9-2-17 at 00:01
  • Gallatin County has closed open burning under burn permits and does not implement staged fire restrictions. 
  • Yellowstone National Park has no fire restrictions at this time. However, campfires are always restricted to improved recreation sites with metal fire rings. 

 The purpose of fire restrictions is to reduce the risk of human-caused fires during periods of very high to extreme fire danger. These areas are experiencing critical fire conditions, including dry fuels, hot temperatures, low humidity, and high winds, all of which are expected to continue.

For more information about fire restrictions, and to check what areas are under restrictions, visit the Fire Restriction website at: or call your local fire management agency, volunteer fire department, or county office.

Media Contacts: 

South Central Fire Zone Coordinator:  Greg Coleman 406/222-4188

Acting Public Affairs Officer, Custer Gallatin National Forest for forest related questions:  Teri Seth, 406/587-6703