Open Burning Again Allowed With Permits
The Bitterroot Valley is back into Open Burning season. The Ravalli County Commissioners started the annual controlled burning season last week, which includes all sorts of slash-burning, land-clearing, debris-burning and open fires within the county on residential or commercial property.
As an example, Donaldson Brothers Readi-Mix at the north end of Hamilton had a large pile of woody debris, just waiting for a spark. That spark was provided by the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department, which used the burn as a training exercise. The pile was large enough that the fire department was called in to make sure all would go well.
The open burning is controlled by a statewide permit system, which is required. The website is www.burnpermits.mt.gov or you can call 1-866-212-6318. You sign up for a permit and then on the day you plan to burn, you call and "activate" the permit. That passes the word on to the 9-1-1 Center. If they get a call from the public about a fire, they can quickly verify if it is a permitted fire. It can prevent a fire department call.
However, if you are in a burning project and it gets out of bounds, call 911 and the nearest fire department will quickly respond. You should always have a plan and plenty of running water available. Grab some of the neighbors to help you out. And remember, every afternoon, the wind shifts and can become gusty. So burn early in the day. In the Bitterroot, we often jokingly call this "fencepost-burning season," but that does happen and fences are expensive to replace. So, be prepared when you start your open burning project.