Burn Permit - Outdoor Burning / Bonfire
Outdoor burning, such as bonfires, require a permit. Bonfire permits originate at the Missoula City-County Health Department. Bonfires in the city limits also require signatures from the Missoula Police Department and Missoula Fire Departments. Please call the Health Department at 406-258-4755 for additional information.
General outdoor burning season runs from March 1 through August 31. However, when fire danger becomes too high (usually sometime in late June) burning will no longer be allowed.
For this reason, the Missoula City-County Health Department and the Missoula County Fire Protection Association strongly urge citizens to get permits early and conduct their outdoor burning in the springtime, when air quality is typically good and fire danger is usually low.
In Missoula County, permits are always required for outdoor burning. Missoula City residents must have one acre of land to obtain a burn permit. (Missoula Municipal Code - Outdoor Burning Regulations)
Burn permits can be obtained online at the Missoula County Burn Permit and Notification Service or at the City / County Health Department during normal business hours at:
301 W. Alder Street
Missoula, MT 59802
Missoula Fire Department representatives will make a site visit to inspect the area and material you wish to burn as part of the permit issuing process. Operations crew personnel will usually conduct that inspection. We will try to make an appointment with you to meet you at your burn site as emergency calls permit. We appreciate your patience in that process.
Once you have a permit and before burning, please remember the following:
- Burning is only allowed between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Your fire must be attended at all times.
- You are required to have a valid copy of your permit with you when burning.
- You must activate your permit each day that you plan to burn by either going to Missoula County Burn Permit and Notification Service or calling 1-888-583-6497. You will not be able to activate or burn if burning is restricted for the day.
The only materials that may be burned are natural vegetation and untreated wood. Wood that has been painted, stained, or in has been weather proofed is considered to be treated, and cannot be legally burned. Burning garbage and man-made materials is prohibited year-round throughout the state.
In addition, piles of leaves and grass may not be burned in the Air Stagnation Zone because they create too much smoke. The Air Stagnation Zone extends approximately 4.5 beyond the Missoula City limits and includes Lolo, Bonner, and the Wye.
Proper Disposal of Ashes
Coals and ashes from fires can remain hot enough to start a fire for many days after you think the fire is out. The amount of time for complete extinguishment and cooling depends on many factors such as how hot the fire was, what was burning, how much unburned fuel remains, etc. It's best to treat all coals and ashes as hot, even if you think they've had time to cool.
To dispose of ashes properly, we recommend the following:
- If possible, allow ashes and coals to cool in the area where you had the fire for several days. These devices are designed to contain their heat safely.
- When it is time to dispose of the ashes, transfer them to a metal container and wet them down.
- Do NOT use a combustible container.
- Do NOT place other combustibles in the metal container.
- Keep the metal container outside your home and away from any combustibles until its able to be hauled away.