Rules & Regulations
KNOW YOUR BURNING SEASONS
If you want to burn yard waste, do it in the spring with a General Outdoor Burning Season Permit
(available March 1 - August 31*). In the Fall, only those with agricultural lands* or forested wildlands with prescribed
burning needs can obtain a Fall Burning Season Permit (available March 1 through November 30*). *Limits apply. Read more here.
GETTING A BURNING PERMIT
With the exception of small cooking or recreational fires, every fire ignited
in Missoula County -- including those started on public lands for resource management -- requires a burning permit, now available
online for a $5 fee. To obtain a permit, visit the ONLINE PERMIT WEBSITE and fill out the application, including choice
of payment system. You can still get a permit from fire departments, but remember
many of the fire districts in western Montana
are staffed by volunteers who work during the day and only respond to emergency calls, so there may be no one at the station
when you call or stop by. Don't give up! Leave a message and you'll soon be on your way to a bit of Firewise burning. Read your permit
carefully for important information.
ACTIVATING THE BURN PERMIT
To activate your permit, CALL 1-888-583-6497
number listed on your permit) after 9 am ON THE DAY that you want to burn. Please note: SPRING burning is affected
by air quality and/or fire danger. In the FALL in Missoula County, it's based on airshed and elevational conditions. ONLINE PERMIT:
Knowing WHAT and HOW TO BURN is as important as getting a permit and activitating
it online or by phone. Remember: If your fire gets out of control,YOU WILL BE LIABLE FOR FIRE SUPPRESSION COSTS as well as any damage YOUR FIRE
causes to the surrounding community.
FIRE OUT BY 4 PM
All General Outdoor Burns must begin after 9 am and be fully extinguished by
4 pm, unless your local fire department has granted an extension. Reasons: Air inversions are common in the Missoula
Valley. In the spring and summer, they tend to break up by 9 am. Waiting until then to ignite lets the smoke disperse better. Afternoon
winds are also typical. So for safety reasons, your fire MUST BE completely dead out--NO SMOKE AT ALL--by 4 pm. Additionally,
smoke dispersion is poor after sunset, so a fire left smoldering overnight can cause smoke to build up, bothering neighbors and adding
to Valley pollution.
Missoula County -
BURN PERMIT RULES & REGULATIONS
Missoula County offers two outdoor burning seasons. General Outdoor Burning
is often called Spring Burning. Essential Agricultural
and Prescribed Wildland Burning
occur in the Fall. Each requires PERMITS and have limits. Read more here
c) Missoula County Fire Protection Association 2011
FIVE STEPS to Firewise Open Burning
WHAT you can't burn:
* Wastes generated by a business.
* Material moved from other locations to your property.
* Piles of leaves or
grass clippings cannot be burned IF YOU LIVE within the Air Stagnation Zone, which includes the City of Missoula and an area
roughly 4 1/2 miles around it. Leaves and clippings simply produce too much smoke.
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Protecting People, Homes & Natural Resources | SW Montana
PRECAUTIONS when burning:
To prevent your fire from spreading to surrounding vegetation and structures, think like a firefighter
and take every precaution:
* Build your debris piles in vegetation openings, away from overhead branches, wires, structures
and other burnable materials.
* Scrape debris and any other burnable material away from your piles, so material is surrounded
by several feet of bare soil.
* Once you ignite your debris, attend your fire continuously.
* When you think your fire
is out, check ashes for glowing embers.
With a new burst of oxygen (generated by stirring ashes), even a few live coals will
soon produce smoke. Make sure your fire is dead out!
* Keep water and tools ready in case there are fire- or weather-related
* Always have sufficient help, tools and equipment to control the fire.
MCFPA RECOMMENDED Equipment for Burning:
* a reliable water source
* a good sturdy shovel
* some heavy gloves
WHEN you can burn:
Once you have your permit, choose a calm day for your burn. SPRING OR FALL DO NOT LIGHT your fire when wind
or other weather conditions make it hazardous to burn. Burning is typically closed on days with hazardous conditions, so always
call the Online Activation # before you burn.
The topography of Missoula County creates three airsheds. Additionally,
officials have created special impact zones to maintain air quality standards in the Missoula Valley. Maps of these areas are included
on this site.
Missoula County Fire
General Outdoor Burning
DO NOT BURN
Prohibited materials include household garbage, dead animals, animal droppings, treated wood, chemicals
or synthetics, such as rubber and plastics.
WHAT you can burn:
* ONLY burn natural vegetation and untreated dimensional lumber that is generated on your property. Burning prohibited
materials can produce harmful smoke or even cause explosions and you can be charged with illegal burning.
GENERAL Outdoor Burning is typically closed by July 1 due to fire danger.
(Oct 1 - Nov 30) is limited to Essential Agriculture
& Wildland Prescribed burns. Both need permits.
General Outdoor Burning: Mar 1 - Aug 31
You can also contact the
Missoula City County Health Department at (406) 258-4755. Or check with your local fire department or
* Burns on public lands, such as those managed by the US Forest Service, in Montana and Idaho are managed by the Airshed Management System.