HELENA – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality reminds people that the annual fall open burning restrictions become effective on Sept. 1, 2016. The restrictions are put in place to determine when it is safe to burn from an air quality perspective and where burning may cause health impacts.
“DEQ regulates open burning because smoke can have serious health effects when ventilation conditions are poor,” said Rhonda Payne, a scientist from the DEQ’s Air Permitting Program. “We try to give residents opportunities to burn without endangering public health.”
There may be additional burning restrictions put in place by local, state or tribal authorities to prevent wildfires. Burners in all locations must also contact these local authorities before starting fires any time of year to provide notification of the burn and obtain necessary local open burning permits.
Open burning is defined as burning outside in the open air without a receptacle. In Montana, it usually means burning yard or field waste in the fall and spring. It usually does not include small recreational fires, flares or construction site heaters.
Until Dec. 1, open burning is restricted to the time periods specified by the DEQ. These times are available daily at www.burnclosures.mt.gov or by calling the 24-hour Ventilation Hotline at 800-225-6779. Both are updated every day by 5 p.m. The Burn Closures website also has information about what materials can and cannot be burned, frequently asked questions about open burning, major open burning permits, and local contact information.
Residents of Yellowstone, Flathead, Missoula, Cascade, Lewis and Clark, and Lincoln Counties (capitalized) and all Indian Reservations (capitalized) should contact their local air quality agency for air quality related regulations.
For more information, contact Lisa M. Peterson, Public Information Officer, DEQ, phone: 406-444-2929