Winter Burning Season (December 1 - February 28):

Winter Burning Instructions:

One or two weeks before you wish to burn:

  • Obtain a permit from your local county fire control authority (many counties can be found here)
  • Submit a “Winter Time Open Burning Request Form” to the DEQ. Call 406-444-3490 or download the PDF or Word version.
  • You will receive an email from with the status of your burn. 
    1. If your burn application is approved, the email will include a Burner Identification Number (Burner ID).
  • Confirm that your burn location is correct by searching for your BIN number in the map below.
    1. If your burn is not in the correct location, please call 406-444-3490 or email

One or two days before you wish to burn:

  • Read the Air Quality Discussion located below the map to determine what days may be best to burn.

The morning you wish to burn:

  • Read the Air Quality Discussion located below the map to determine what days may be best to burn.
  • Call the meteorologist at 406-444-3490 the morning you would like to burn. 
    1. Be prepared to describe the number of piles you would like to burn that day and the number of hours you plan to burn.
    2. The meteorologist will either approve, approve with specified conditions, or deny your request.
    3. Once a decision has been made, the requested burn will appear on the map below.
  • If your burn has been approved, activate you local county fire control permit (many counties can be found here)

After you have completed all burns for the winter season:

  • If you have completed all burning for the winter season, please call 406-444-3490 or email to remove your Burner ID from the website.

Active Burn Map:

The locations of active burns are shown below. You may have to zoom in to see additional burn locations. These burns are classified in three ways: 'Approved' = Approved without conditions; 'Approved w/ conditions' = Approved with the conditions visible by clicking on the icon; and 'Denied' = Requested burn is not allowed. The reason the burn was denied is visible by clicking on the icon. Potential Burn Locations represent approved winter burn applications. These do not represent an approved burn. Note: When clicking on a icon, you will have to scroll between "Today's Requests" and the "Potential Burn Locations" by clicking on the arrows above the burner ID.

Air Quality and Dispersion Discussion for the week of January 14-18, 2018

Welcome to the winter burning season. Please call 406-444-3490 if you wish to burn. Check here for an overview of air quality and burning opportunities around western Montana.  If you wish to burn over the weekend, you must call before 4pm on Friday. 


A strong ridge of high pressure will continue to be the dominate weather pattern to start the week. The ridge is creating light winds, clear skies, and stable conditions that has led to inversions forming in many valleys each night. As of Monday morning, the strongest inversions were in Butte and Helena, where air quality was moderate to start the day. Further west, the inversions are weaker, although vertical movement is still poor. Cold nights and poor air quality are expected to continue into Tuesday before we start to see some improvement.  The ridge begins to break down on Tuesday night with a number of disturbances moving through for the rest of the week. The first of these disturbances on Tuesday night may help improve air dispersion in some valleys, although some of the more stubborn inversions may linger into Wednesday. A stronger disturbance is expected on Thursday, with snow showers and increased winds expected. Another ridge is expected for the weekend, although this looks to be shorter lived, with more active weather expected at the start of next week.

Burning Opportunities:

Burning opportunities will be very limited on Monday and Tuesday due to poor air movement and valley inversions. No valley burning will be allowed and only small burns at high elevation will be considered through Tuesday. On Wednesday, burning will be allowed in valleys that are showing improved air movement. By Thursday and Friday, burning opportunities are expected to be widespread.

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 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 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: