Open Burning Information

Open Burning Frequently Asked Questions

Open Burning Seasons Cheat Sheet

Why Can't I Burn?

Winter Burning Season (December 1 - February 28):

Winter Burning Instructions:
  1. One or two weeks before you wish to burn:
    1. Obtain a permit from your local county fire control authority (many counties can be found here)
    2. Submit a “Winter Time Open Burning Request Form” to the DEQ. Call 406-444-3490 or download the PDF or Word version.
    3. 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).
    4. 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
  2. One or two days before you wish to burn:
    1. Read the Air Quality Discussion located below the map to determine what days may be best to burn.
  3. The morning you wish to burn:
    1. 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.
    2. If your burn has been approved, activate you local county fire control permit (many counties can be found here)
  4. After you have completed all burns for the winter season:
    1. 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.

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 December 13, 2017

Welcome to the winter burn season. Check here for an overview of air quality and dispersion conditions around western Montana. If burning conditions are noted as good in your area, please call 444-3490 if you would like to burn.

On Wednesday,  a quick-moving disturbance will bring light snow for a few hours, mostly out of the state by late afternoon.  Freezing fog and low stratus will be present in most valleys throughout the day. The light precip will not do much to remove the built-up pollution under the strong inversions we've been experiencing this week. On Wednesday, winds will be very light and mostly out of the north. Temperatures will warm to 30s - 40s in higher elevations, but remain only in the 20s in the western valleys. Then, the ridge rebounds after the disturbance clears and will be the main event on Thursday, until the arrival of our next disturbance on Friday afternoon. This low pressure does look to have decent winds ahead of it, which will be very helpful in breaking the stubborn inversions we've had.  

Burning will be restricted in NW and west-central valleys of Montana on Wednesday. Burning conditions at higher elevations do look better,  where small, dry, and remote piles will be approved on a case-by-case basis. All ignition will be required to end by 2pm to allow enough time for smoke to dissipate and not pool into lower elevations. 

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 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: