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The Gallatin County Commission has updated its countywide burn ban to include an exception for fuel reduction and work to reduce fire risk on private land.

The commission held a meeting Thursday to discuss a change to last week’s county wide burn ban ordinance. The new amendment changes the exceptions for where vehicles can be operated, adding that now vehicles can be driven off road for forestry management on private land.

The new exception allows people to thin or clear brush and trees in an effort to reduce fuels. The change is effective immediately.

The commission created last week’s emergency ordinance in response to increasingly dry and hot weather. The main concern the commission had when enacting the ordinance was the Emergency Release Component, or how readily vegetation will burn.

The Emergency Release Component was on a record-breaking pace last week, but has since dipped to near-average levels for this time of year. Nearly all of Gallatin County remains under extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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Alex Miller is the county and state government reporter and can be reached at or by phone at 406-582-2648.

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