Fall Burning Season (September 1 - November 30):

Fall Burning Instructions:
  • 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
  • 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 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.

Air Quality and Dispersion Discussion for November 17-19, 2018

Welcome to the fall burning season. Check here for an overview of air quality and dispersion conditions around western Montana. Please check this website everyday for air quality related burn restrictions.

A ridge of high pressure will build into Montana throughout the weekend and well into next week. As this ridge gets stronger, overnight inversions in the valleys will continue to increase in strength. Starting Saturday night, we can expect cold pools in most western valleys. These inversions will struggle to lift each day, with air quality in some valleys reaching unhealthy for sensitive groups by early next week. Winds will be light each day, with calm winds present in the valleys until the inversions lift. Day time temperatures under the inversions will remain below freezing, with improvement only in areas where the inversions lift. Burning opportunities are restricted in northwest Montana, and limited to high elevations in west central Montana. In southwest Montana, where valleys are larger, burning is restricted to midday, when dispersion conditions will be at their best.  The high pressure system is expected to remain in place through at least Wednesday

On Saturday, November 17th through Monday, November 19th burning is restricted in Lincoln, Mineral, and Sanders Counties. Burning is restricted by elevation in the purple counties above. Finally, burning is restricted before 11am and after 4pm in the yellow counties above due to the potential for overnight inversions.  You must have approval from your local fire authority to burn.

Be sure to check out current air quality, which can be found on the Today’s Air site

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 Resources Management 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: