HELENA – Montana’s spring/summer open burning season began March 1 and runs until August 31. Lewis and Clark County residents must obtain a permit before burning.

In Lewis and Clark County, open burning is legally allowed with a permit on private property outside of Helena city limits. It is allowed within Helena City Limits and the Westside Fire Service Area by burn permit only and by contacting the City of Helena Fire Department at 447-8472. There are open burning restrictions in the East Helena City Limits.

County permits cost $8 and can be obtained online at www.lccountymt.gov/bocc/burn-permits.html or at the Lewis and Clark County Treasurers office in the City/County building at 316 N. Park Ave., room 113, in Helena, Mon-Fri, 8 am – 5 pm. It is $5 to renew an existing permit.

Once a burn permit has been obtained, it is good for the entire year but must be activated on the day burning will occur. This can also be done online or by calling 1-877-453-BURN (2876). When activating a burn permit, it is only active for a single day. Permits must be reactivated each day burning will occur.

“When activating your burn permit, it is important to be as accurate as possible to avoid potential deployment of fire department personnel,” said East Valley Fire Chief Dave Sammons. “These permits allow us to track locations of approved burns in the County so resources don’t have to be dispatched every time smoke or a fire is reported.”

Burners should contact local fire control authorities, regardless of weather conditions, to learn local fire safety requirements and report the timeframe and location of their planned burn. Additionally, burners should check for county-level air quality restrictions prior to burning.

“When burning, have enough water, hand tools, equipment and people to keep the fire under control,” adds Sammons.

If a fire escapes control, citations and fines may be assessed and a person may have to pay the cost of suppression and damages caused to someone else’s property.

Additionally, some materials are prohibited from open burning, including:

· Food waste

· Plastic

· Wood that has been coated, painted, stained or treated

· Dead animals or animal droppings

· Rubber materials

· Chemicals

· Asphalt shingles and tar paper

· Pathogenic or hazardous wastes

· Standing or demolished structures containing prohibited materials listed in Administrative Rules of Montana, Chapter 17.8, Subchapter 6, “Materials Prohibited from Open Burning”

For more information visit www.lccountymt.gov/bocc/burn-permits.html