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Winter Open burning regulations in effect

Smoke from open burning can get trapped in Montana's mountain valleys during wintertime inversions causing poor air quality. For this reason, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) reviews atmospheric conditions daily during winter months to determine when and where it's safe to burn.

Open burning is defined as outdoor burning of materials such as slash piles, yard or field waste. It does not include small recreational fires, flares or construction site heaters.

Between Dec. 1 and the last day of February, burning is permissible in the western burn zone by permit only. Montana's western burn zone includes the following counties: Lincoln, Flathead, Sanders, Lake, Mineral, Missoula, Powell, Lewis & Clark, Ravalli, Granite, Deer Lodge, Silver Bow, Jefferson, Broadwater, Beaverhead, Madison, Gallatin, and Park (south of I-90 only).

To burn in the western burn zone during the winter season, start by submitting a Wintertime Open Burning Request form. Requests need to be in by 4 p.m. for burns planned for the following day. For weekend burns, please have your submissions in prior to 3 p.m. Friday. Burners will be notified via email the day prior to the burn whether the burn has been approved based on forecasted ventilation rates and air quality.

Additional regulations may apply to burning in Lewis and Clark, Yellowstone, Flathead, Missoula, Lincoln and Cascade counties and all tribal lands. Please contact your local air quality agency before submitting a Burn Request Form to understand any local air quality related open burning rules or restrictions.

To conduct open burning in the eastern burn zone during the winter months, please notify DEQ by telephone prior to ignition at 406-444-3490. No permit is required.

Only clean, untreated wood and plant material may be burned. Do not burn: food wastes, plastics, wood that has been coated, painted, stained, or treated, dead animals or animal droppings, rubber materials, chemicals, asphalt shingles, tar paper, hazardous wastes or structures containing these materials. The DEQ website has information about what materials can and cannot be burned, frequently asked questions about open burning, state-issued major open burning permits, and local contact information. For more information, visit:

Before starting fires any time of year, please remember to contact your local authorities to provide notification of the burn, check for fire safety concerns and obtain necessary local open burning permits.