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The Bureau of Land Management will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony and public open house at the newly completed Fort Howes fire station July 1, and the public is invited to tour the station south of Ashland on Otter Creek, just north of the town of Otter. The event will begin at 1 p.m. and end around 3 p.m.

The new Fort Howes Fire Station and work center has offices, a meeting room and three engine bays and will house BLM fire operations personnel who service BLM lands, the Custer National Forest and private affidavit lands.

Billings-based Fisher Construction Inc. began construction in April 2014. Work on the $2.6 million energy-efficient structure was recently completed, and it replaces the original U.S. Forest Service Fort Howes Ranger Station, which was built around 1936.

The USFS was responsible for wildfire protection on the Ashland Ranger District until the 1988 Montana Cooperative Fire Protection Agreement, where protection exchanges were established between the USFS, BLM and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and other federal agencies. The BLM took over fire suppression responsibility for the Ashland and Sioux Ranger District of the Custer National Forest and the adjoining private affidavit lands under this agreement.

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For more information or to get advice about maintaining defensible space in wildland-urban areas call the BLM at 406-233-2800.

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