Open Burning

An open burn is the burning of any material where the productions of combustion are emitted directly in to the ambient air without passing through a stack or chimney from an enclosed chamber.  Open burning for forest health, agricultural purposes, and wildfire mitigation purposes are supported by the City of Whitefish Fire Department with the understanding that there are risks that will need to be mitigated.  Air pollution posing a nuisance, health threat, obscured visibility along routes of travel, escaped or loss of control fires, and sparks or embers are some of the risks that are managed by a number of codes and regulations. 

There is no open burning within the City of Whitefish without first receiving a permit from the City of Whitefish. 

Recreational fires, such as camp fires and warming fires, do not require a permit; however, these fires may NOT be tendered if any fire restrictions have been established. 

Date Requirements

Date RangeRequirements
March 1 through April 30Permit required within city limits, plus Air Quality Approval. Open Burning, you must check with the Flathead City/County Health Department for current air quality conditions, then notify Police Dispatch prior to all ignitions
May 1 through June 30Permit Required Within City Limits: from City and DNRC. Air Quality approval necessary. Permit required outside City Limits: From DNRC, Air Quality approval necessary.
July 1 through September 30No Open Burning: Season Closed
October 1 through November 31Permit required within City Limits, plus Air Quality Approval. No Permit outside the City, Air Quality Approval necessary.
December 1 through February 28No Open Burning: Season Closed

For Air Quality Approval, call the Air Quality Hotline at 406-751-8144


City of Whitefish Open Burning Permit Requirements

  • A permit is required for any open burning within the City of Whitefish. Open burning includes slash piles, field or ditch burning, but not recreational fires.
  • A $25.00 Inspection Fee is paid at the time of application. 
  • A $500.00 Deposit Fee in the event of an escaped or out of control fire which necessitates the assistance of the Whitefish Fire Department.  The property owner may be billed for any and all Whitefish Fire Department responders, equipment, and mutual-aid resources used in the containment of the fire.  The deposit will be returned only when the open burn has been successfully completed at the end of the permit period and the services of the Whitefish Fire Department were not required. 
  • The City of Whitefish Fire Marshal, or designee, shall conduct a site inspection and approve or disapprove of the permit request.  Schedule the inspection with the Fire Marshal only after the burn pile is assembled.  While the Fire Department will do everything it can to handle inspections as fast as possible, please allow up to 10 working days for the application process.  
  • The Fire Marshall, or designee, may cancel any and all open burn permits at any time due to weather conditions or any other factor.  
  • Each permit shall list the following information: 
    • The property owner's contact information and their approval for the burn.  
    • The on-site responsible party's name and contact information for the burn.  
    • Date(s) of proposed burn. 
    • Site map with the best access for fire apparatus. 
  • Only natural vegetation (e.g. slash) no larger than 4 inches in diameter.  Do not try to burn piles of pine needles or other yard rakings as they produce a lot of smoke and smolder.  No garbage or construction site waste may be burned. 
  • The City of Whitefish Fire Department shall have the authority to cause any fire to be extinguished if it is determined that there is a danger to public safety, a danger to public or private property, a nuisance, sign of environmental harm, or violation of regulations.