Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 7. Protection of Livestock and Agricultural Resources

Maintenance Of Fireguards

69-14-722. Maintenance of fireguards. (1) Every railroad corporation operating its lines of road or any part thereof within this state shall, between April 15 and July 1 in each year, plow in a good and workmanlike manner, covering the sod well, upon each side of its line of road, wherever it passes through a range or grazing country, a continuous strip of not less than 6 feet in width on each side of its track, as a fireguard. Said strip shall, as near as practicable, run parallel with the line or lines of said railroad, and in addition to such plowing, said railroad company shall cause to be burned, between July 15 and September 15 of each year, all the grass and vegetation between the said plowed strips and a line of 50 feet inside said plowed strips. Said plowing shall be not less than 300 feet from the center of the railroad track on each side of same except in cases of cultivated fields, and then such plowing and burning shall be done closer to such railroad but not less than 70 feet from the center of the track.

(2) Such fireguard, so plowed and burned, need not be constructed within the limits of any town, village, or city; in private fields under cultivation; along the line of such railroad whenever the same runs through the mountains; or elsewhere where such plowing or burning would be impracticable. Said fireguard or portion thereof need not be plowed or burned on or through any lands which may be released from the operation of this section by the board of county commissioners of the county wherein such land is situated, by their written certificate of release filed in the office of the county clerk of the county.

(3) If any railroad company fails to comply with any of the provisions of this section, the board of county commissioners of the county wherein such violation occurs shall cause the neglected plowing, burning, or both to be done and may, in a suit to be brought in their name as said board in the district court having jurisdiction, recover double the amount of the cost of such plowing, burning, or both, with reasonable attorney fees to be fixed by the court. Such railroad company shall be liable further for all damages caused by its failure to comply with this section.

History: (1), (2)En. Sec. 1, p. 163, L. 1901; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 63, L. 1903; re-en. Sec. 4360, Rev. C. 1907; re-en. Sec. 6597, R.C.M. 1921; re-en. Sec. 6597, R.C.M. 1935; Sec. 72-642, R.C.M. 1947; (3)En. Sec. 2, p. 164, L. 1901; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 63, L. 1903; re-en. Sec. 4361, Rev. C. 1907; re-en. Sec. 6598, R.C.M. 1921; re-en. Sec. 6598, R.C.M. 1935; Sec. 72-643, R.C.M. 1947; R.C.M. 1947, 72-642, 72-643.