March 1st marks the opening of outdoor burning by permit in western Montana.

All burns require a permit, which you can acquire a number of different ways. You can get one through the County Burn Permit System online. Folks can also get a permit at a local fire department, but should call first to confirm availability. All permits cost $5. Existing permits on file are also renewable.

Before lighting your fire, you must have a current permit. With the exception of small cooking or recreational fires, every fire ignited in Missoula County, including those on public lands, require a burn permit if you want to burn yard waste (leaves, grass, branches, etc). You can burn outdoors March 1-August 31.

To prevent your burn from spreading fire to surrounding vegetation and structures, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation urges you to "think like a firefighter" and take every precaution. There's more helpful tips available through the DNRC and local fire stations.

Safe burning everyone.