Fall Burning Season (September 1 - November 30):

Fall Burning Season (September 1 - November 30)

Open burning is regulated because smoke from open burning can have serious health effects if released to the atmosphere during times of poor ventilation. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality strives to provide residents every opportunity to burn without endangering public health. Every day during the fall and winter season, DEQ reviews the atmospheric conditions across the state and determines where it is safe to burn from an air quality perspective and where burning may cause health impacts. For more information see the “Why Can’t I Burn” brochure. This page pertains to Minor Open Burning, to see daily Major Open Burn decisions and locations, visit the Montana/Idaho Airshed Group page.

What to do

Before conducting any burning, please follow the following steps:

  • Obtain a permit from your county fire control authority. Permits can be obtained for many counties through the County Burn Permit and Notification Service website.
  • Ensure that there are no burning restrictions due to fire safety concerns. Many fire safety restrictions are posted at https://firerestrictions.us/mt/. Check with your county government to make sure there are no burning restrictions in your area.
  • Check this website or call the Ventilation Hotline at 800-225-6779 for any air quality restrictions the day of the burn.
  • If there are no restrictions for either fire danger or air quality be aware of local conditions and burn smart.

Active Burn Map:

The following county air quality restrictions are in place (see below map for dispersion discussion). If elevation or other restrictions are noted, click on the county to see additional details. "County Restrictions" refer to counties that have their own open burning programs approved by the Board of Environmental Review.  Please see the map "Info" tab for that county, or the county contact information below in order to burn in those counties.

Air Quality and Dispersion Discussion for October 16-21, 2019

Welcome to the Fall Burning Season! The ventilation season runs from September 1 through November 30. Please follow all of the instructions, and closures on the map above before you burn.


Wednesday the state is under the ridge of high pressure, causing warm and dry conditions across much of the area, however a cold front is due to arrive by Thursday. The ridge also starts to break down, increasing westerly winds and dropping temperatures. This has prompted a high wind watch from midnight Thursday to midnight Friday night along the Rocky Mountain Front. Thursday and Friday’s increased wind will be favorable for smoke dispersion. A couple of low pressure troughs and associated moisture may cause snow at higher elevations Thursday into the weekend. The stronger trough will arrive Saturday, decreasing winds and increasing precipitation chances. Winds shift to the northwest Saturday and in to Sunday, accompanied by precipitation. Monday may see a brief ridge which will settle things down a little. Another disturbance and wet weather is expected by Tuesday.

To check current air quality - visit Today's Air.

Additional Burning Information:

Winter Burning Information


 Between December 1 and February 28, the state is divided into two separate zones:

Western Montana Zone:
Lincoln, Flathead, Sanders, Lake, Mineral, Missoula, Powell, Lewis and Clark, Ravalli, Granite, Deer Lodge, Silver Bow, Jefferson, Broadwater, Beaverhead, Madison, Gallatin, Park (south of I-90)

I’m in the western zone. What do I do?
Burner is required to first submit a written request to the Department. Burning is always encouraged before December 1 or after February 28. Only essential winter burning will be considered. To receive the written request form, please call 406-444-3490. Burners may only burn during the times specified by the Department.

Why can't I burn?

Eastern Montana Zone:
Glacier, Pondera, Teton, Cascade, Meagher, Wheatland, Park (north of I-90), Toole, Liberty, Hill, Choteau, Blaine, Judith Basin, Fergus, Sweet Grass, Stillwater, Carbon, Golden Valley, Big Horn, Yellowstone, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Valley, Garfield, Treasure, Rosebud, Powder River, Carter, Custer, Fallon, Prairie, Wibaux, Dawson, McCone, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Daniels

I’m in the eastern zone. What do I do?
Burner is only required to notify the Department prior to ignition. To notify the Department, and to check for any restrictions, call 406-444-3490.


Thank you for working with the Air Quality Bureau to accomplish your burn.  


County Open Burning Programs

Some counties may have air quality related open burning programs that are approved by the Board of Environmental Review.  Please refer to these counties for air quality related open burning requirements:

Missoula County - All outdoor burning requires a permit through burnpermit.mt.gov. Burns must be activated prior to burning each day and the activation process will alert burners to any restrictions currently in effect.      
     For more information call: 406-258-4755
     Missoula County Open Burning Hotline:  406-258-4900
     Northern Missoula County Open Burning Hotline:  406-677-2899

Flathead County  – 406-751-8144

Yellowstone County – 406-256-6841

Cascade County – 406-454-6800

Lincoln County – 406-283-2444
     Lincoln County Air Quality Hotline - 406-293-5644


Open Burning Links

Weather, Air Quality, and Open Burning Brochure

Near real time air quality monitoring information:

Minor Open Burning Requirements Flyer:
Montana Open Burning Periods

State Air Quality Open Burning Permits Webpage:

Open Burning Rules:

Visibility Ranges and Health Effects Categories:

Winter Air Quality Updates:

Recommendations for safely and effectively using wood burning devices:

Wildfire Smoke:

State Issued Major Open Burning Permits: