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Open Burning Seasons Cheat Sheet

Why Can't I Burn?


Fall Burning Season: September 1 – November 30



During fall burning season all burners must:

  • Obtain a permit from their county fire control authority
  • Check this website or call the Ventilation Hotline at 800-225-6779 for any restrictions the day of the burn
  • If there are no restrictions be aware of local conditions and burn smart


Current Burning Restrictions:

 The following county restrictions are in place:

September 1 & 2, 2015

Dispersion and Air Quality Forecast

Dispersion is expected to be moderate the remainder of today and into 09/02/14. "Moderate" to "Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups" air quality is expected to remain throughout the period due to wildfire smoke impacting the area. It is important to note that while it may be OK to burn due to good dispersion conditions, many counties have burn closures as a result of current fire activity and critical risk of new fires igniting in all of Western Montana. The fire activity and associated smoke impacts we’ve experienced the past few weeks have been considerably great.


A cold front with gusty winds is expected to move into Montana on 09/2/15. In west-central/southwest Montana, these winds associated with the frontal passage will coincide with afternoon heating, allowing winds to mix to the surface which will provide for generally good dispersion in the afternoon of 9/2/15. Precipitation is expected to develop behind the cold front Wednesday evening into Thursday. During this period, dispersion conditions will be moderate in the morning and improve to good during the midday hours of 11am to 4pm due to good mixing conditions. Temperatures will be below normal throughout this period.

Open Burning Restrictions

Due to the uncertainty in fire behavior and the fact that we are seeing air quality impacts from smoke trending up, Montana DEQ has closed burning throughout Western Montana for the rest of 9/1/15 and into 9/2/15. Another update to this webpage will be made tomorrow afternoon for restrictions on 9/3/15.

Open burning in Cascade, Flathead, Missoula, and Yellowstone counties, and within the Libby Impact Zone, is at the discretion of the county air quality program. The contact information for these counties is provided below.



County Air Quality 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 - 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 – 406-283-2443 
     Lincoln County Flyer 


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.


If you have submitted a written request and received permission with a burner identification number, please adhere to the instructions below. The Department will be working hard all winter to assess dispersion conditions and expected air quality in your area, and identify a timeframe that will minimize the impacts of your proposed burns to air quality. 

  1. Please check this website often. It will be updated Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, by 5:00 pm. Burning “windows of opportunity” are infrequent and forecasts are subject to change.
  2. Determine if your assigned wintertime burn identification number is listed as having a possible “window of opportunity” on a given day. If so, call the Department's Open Burning Program Permitter Doug Kuenzli at 444-4267 at least 24 hours prior to the proposed date to create a burn plan. Please only call between 8:00 am-4:00 pm.
  3. Notify local fire control authorities prior to igniting your burn.
  4. At the completion of your burn, call the meteorologist to note the accomplishment achieved and indicate whether any future service will be required.

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



Additional Links

Weather, Air Quality, and Open Burning Brochure

Near real time air quality monitoring information:

Minor Open Burning Requirements Flyer:

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: