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Open burning season underway in Northwest Montana, fire danger remains

Fire danger open burning
Posted at 3:47 PM, Oct 03, 2022

KALISPELL - Fall open burning season is officially underway in Northwest Montana as fire season winds down, but don't forget that warm and dry weather remains in the forecast.

Open burning runs through Nov. 30 with no permit required, although those burning must comply with air quality regulations.

Flathead County Fire Area Manager Lincoln Chute — who says wildfire season typically runs through the month of October — is advising those burning to take extra precautions. Those precautions include not burning leaves and grass clippings, burning only dry material, and keeping fires small.

Chute says weather conditions change rapidly in Northwest Montana, and grass should be mowed at least 30 feet from a home.

“The thing to remember is the fuels are still very dry, the brown grass and stuff even with the rain they are not going to green right back up, the brushes and stuff they’re preparing for winter, the trees, so the fuels are still very dry and so you need to take those precautions, keep it small, and have some tools, have some water on hand,” Chute said.

Open burning season is closed from Dec. 1 through the end of February. Residents are asked to call the Ventilation Hotline at 406-751-8144 before burning or check

The Flathead City-County Health Department offers the following reminders for open burning season:

  • Call the Ventilation Hotline at 406-751-8144 before burning or check the webpage before burning.
  • Burn only clean, dry materials. Do not let fires smolder.
  • The Flathead County Landfill offers an alternative to burning, free to homeowners within the county.
  • Leaves and grass clippings should not be burned. Composting or landfilling these items is recommended.
  • Keep burn piles away from other combustible materials and fire extinguishing equipment nearby at all times.
  • Never allow piles to become larger than manageable. Weather conditions may change quickly.
  • Burning is prohibited within the Kalispell, Whitefish, and Columbia Falls city limits.