Burning Regulations & Burn Bans
Q: Do I need a burn permit? A: That depends...
In Gallatin County, conducting certain kinds of burning requires that a burn permit be purchased and activated. Please review the options below to determine if your burn requires a burn permit. In addition, certain high risk weather conditions will cause the county to temporarily revoke a burn permits, and sometimes to suspend all burning, including recreational fires.
Burning Allowed without a Gallatin County Burn Permit
In Gallatin County, residents may burn in the following manner without first obtaining a burn permit from the county.***
- Recreational and Heating Fires: Small recreational fires in controlled areas and construction heating devices. A recreational fire (camp fire) must be less than 3 feet in diameter with 6 foot flame heights.
- Burn Barrels: Burn barrels are a metal barrel of less than 60 gallons with a screen covering the top, at least 10 feet from all flammable material. No material may be burned in a burn barrel that is prohibited under state law.
***Please note: Recreational and heating fires and burn barrels are prohibited during county-wide burn bans imposed by the Gallatin County Commissioners. Please refer to the current Gallatin County fire restrictions page to determine if a county-wide burn ban is in effect. ***
Burning Requiring A Gallatin County Burn Permit & Permit Activation
Any burning outside of recreational fires and burn barrels requires an active burn permit from the county, which can be purchased online at www.BurnPermits.mt.gov. Please note, you must activate your permit after purchasing, and before you burn.
Types of Burns Requiring a Permit:
- Essential Agricultural Burning on a farm or ranch is allowed with a permit to eliminate excess vegetative matter from irrigation ditches, cultivated fields, and improve range conditions or wildlife habitat.
- This burning is allowed from March 1 through October 31.
- Prescribed Wildland Open Burning is allowed with a permit for the improvement of wildlife habitat, reduce fire hazards, controlling forest pests and forest regeneration.
- Prescribed wildland open burning may be conducted between March 1 and November 30.
- General Open Burning is any burning other than the two listed above.
- This type of burn may be done between March 1 through August 31.
Q: Is that all? A: Not exactly...
Additional Guidelines: Open burning is a serious activity that, when improperly conducted, jeopardizes the safety of local residents and fire department personnel. Therefore burners are required to follow strict guidelines in order to notify the department in a timely manner and allow for appropriate resource mobilization should a burn become out of control.
- In order for your permit to be valid, you must activate it before burning. This can be accomplished online or by calling the county’s new automated phone system at 1-877-306-BURN (2876). This is to determine the date of your burn so that local fire departments are aware of the enhanced risk and able to respond appropriately in the case of emergency.
- Open Burning is allowed only WITH A PERMIT between March 1st and November 30th*. Permit holders are still required to use common sense and follow SPECIFIC GUIDELINES when burning. This includes notifying when the burn will occur and taking necessary safety measures to contain the burn.
- Your burn must be attended at all times, 24-7 (including in the rain/snow, at night, and during working hours, until it is 100% out.)
- *For any burning during the months of September through November the burner must also call 1-800-225-6779 for an Air Quality Report for burning at the burner's elevation.
- *Any individual igniting an open burning fire without having first obtained an open burning permit is in violation of 7-33-2205 MCA, is guilty of a misdemeanor (7-33-2206) and is subject to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 6 months in the county jail or a fine not to exceed $500 or both pursuant to 46-18-212 MCA.
- Conditions must be favorable for burning - burn permits cannot be activated during certain weather conditions that create a higher risk for wildfire activity. Please contact 1-877-306-BURN (2876) to activate your permit before burning. They will inform you if weather conditions allow you to burn at your time/ location.
- What your cannot burn - Materials Prohibited for Open Burning by ARM 17.8.604*
• Food Wastes
• Styrofoam and Other Plastics
• Animal Droppings
• Dead Animals or Dead Animal Parts
• Asbestos or Asbestos-containing Material
• Treated Lumber and Timbers
• Pathogenic Wastes
• Hazardous Materials
• Materials Resulting from Salvage Operations
• Automobile or Aircraft Bodies and Interiors
• Insulated Wire
• Oil and Petroleum Products
• Standing or Demolished Structures
• Wastes Generating Noxious Odors
• Poultry Litter
• Rubber Material
• Tar paper
• Asphalt Shingles
Burn regulations can be confusing - we're happy to help!
Please contact our department at (406) 587-0236 and we will get your questions answered.
Thank you for helping us keep our district safe!