Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - I can see it and smell it from the inside of my vehicle as I travel up Miller Creek road on the way home from work, the smoke and aroma of open burning.

Yes, ‘til the season for homeowners to take advantage of legal open burning, so I spoke to Captain and Acting Battalion Chief of Missoula Rural Fire Tim Devos about the open burning season, and what is required of those who choose to burn.

It's Open Burning Season and you do Need a Permit

“This time of year, it's open burning for the general public,” began Devos. “They can clean up yard waste from trees, or just about anything that they have lying around. It's not legal to burn any pine needles or leaves but any waste from trees, or anything like that that they have, they can burn. They have to get a permit, of course.”

Devos described the proper way to prepare for and monitor your open burn.

Read about the Best Way to Prepare and Protect Your Open Burn

“Get a shovel or any yard tools like that are handy to help keep these fires under control along with a garden hose that reaches the fire and is readily accessible while you're burning,” he said. “If you can, you should clear away any grass or debris from where you're burning so it’s less likely that it will spread if a wind gust comes up. Once you've done all that and followed the rules as far as the burning hours, you can start your fire and stay there with it. You can't leave it unattended until it's done burning.”

Devos said even the best preparations can’t keep a fire from spreading.

READ MORE: Missoula Fire: ‘Smoke Detector Probably Saved Man’s Life’

Keep Your Phone Handy in case the Fire Gets Away from You

“So this time of year when the weather starts to warm up, we still have a lot of dried grass and debris from over the winter, and they're readily burnable. It doesn't take much to get that material to ignite and spread. So generally it's people cleaning up around their homes or property, and maybe the wind comes up and the fire gets away from it and we get called to come in to assist.”

Devos recalled one such incident this past weekend.

“We just had a fire over by the dump on Spurlock Road,” he said. “I believe it's still under investigation but there was a fire there that got away and the wind pushed it and luckily we caught it. So that's just a good example of how dangerous it is this time of year.”

Click here to get an open burning permit online, or just visit any Missoula Rural Fire Department to purchase a permit. Activate your open burning permit online here.

Looking Back at One of Montana's Most Explosive Fires

The 2013 Lolo Creek Fire burned within 6 miles of Missoula

Gallery Credit: Dennis Bragg

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