Open Burning Information
Fall Burning Season: September 1 – November 30
Current Burning Restrictions:
The following county restrictions are in place:
October 9, 2015
Dispersion and Air Quality Forecast
Dispersion is expected to be poor in the morning, improving to good in the afternoon in western Montana. Dispersion is expected to be good in eastern Montana. Air quality in northwest Montana may reach UNHEALTHY levels due to nearby fire activity. Other areas of western Montana may see air quality reach UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS due to overnight inversions and wood stove smoke but should clear by early afternoon. Air quality in eastern Montana is expected to be GOOD.
A ridge of high pressure will be over the state on Friday morning, leading to moderately strong overnight inversions in many western valleys. After the inversions lift, winds will be increasing throughout the day as a frontal passage approaches from the west. This front is not expected to reach the area until Saturday evening, but the increasing winds will help create good dispersion conditions beginning in the early afternoon. No precipitation is expected on Friday, so the increasing winds may cause an increase in fire activity in northwest Montana and Idaho, leading to additional smoke impacts in that region. Winds will be from the west southwest and temperatures will be in the upper 70s Friday afternoon.
Open Burning Restrictions
Open burning is restricted in Lincoln and Sanders counties due to elevated particulate concentrations. Open burning is restricted before 12pm in Mineral, Lake, Ravalli, Granite, Deer Lodge, Silver Bow, Beaverhead, Madison, Powell, Lewis and Clark, Broadwater, Jefferson, Gallatin and Park (south of I-90) counties. Dispersion conditions in the Libby Impact Zone, Cascade, Flathead, and Missoula counties are expected to be poor, improving to good, on Friday – however – burning within these counties is at the discretion of the county air quality program. The contact information for these counties is provided below.
All burners should wait until morning inversions lift before igniting any burns.
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 – 406-283-2444
Lincoln County Air Quality Hotline: 406-293-5644
Winter Burning Information:
Between December 1 and February 28, the state is divided into two separate zones:
Western Montana Zone:
Eastern Montana Zone:
I’m in the eastern zone. What do I do?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Notify local fire control authorities prior to igniting your burn.
- 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.
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: