With up to a foot of snow in some areas, Hamilton residents were busy digging out Thursday morning as a continuing line of storm systems have targeted Western Montana. Hamilton Mayor Dominic Farrenkopf rode along with city snowplow and saw how the crews clear the streets.

The main Snow Routes in Hamilton are cleared first - Main, State, Pine, 10th and 5th Streets They also clear Fairgrounds Road and Kurtz Lane leading to Hamilton High School and Daly Elementary School. By the way, if you notice a "Snow Route" sign on a street, be aware that no parking is allowed during winter time - basically, November 15 to February 28.

After the snow routes are cleared, other major streets get attention, including 4th Street and other routes that connect with Highway 93. Please don't crowd the snowplows and, if you're clearing your driveway, don't pile the snow in the road.

The sidewalks need help, too, and residents are asked to clear their sections of sidewalks by 9 a.m. Otherwise, pedestrians are simply walking along the traffic lanes of the street, adding danger to an already dangerous situation.

If you have a fire hydrant near your home, adopt it. Clear snow from the plug so that the fire department can easily access it in an emergency. Chimney fires are the main fire calls each winter in the Bitterroot Valley.

If you are one of the many private snowplow operators, you need to register for a business license with the City of Hamilton. It's only $10 for a temporary snow removal permit. Hamilton's Public Works Department can handle it at 406 363-6717.

What about those leftover natural Christmas Trees? Hamilton has a large dumpster this weekend for your tree. It's in the public parking lot north of the Hamilton Post Office at North 4th and Pinckney. They will not be doing any curbsite pickup. You need to bring your undecorated tree to the collection area. No artificial trees, please, and make sure all the decorations have been removed. The collection will be open from Friday, January 7, through Sunday, January 9.

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