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 June 30Permit required within City limits, plus Air Quality Approval: 406-751-8144.
No Permit outside of City limits is required; however, you must check with the Flathead City/County Health Department for current air quality conditions.
July 1 through September 30No Open Burning: Season Closed.
October 1 through November 30Permit required within City Limits, plus Air Quality Approval: 406-751-8144.
No Permit outside of City limits is required; however, you must check with the Flathead City/County Health Department for current air quality conditions.
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. Download your permit application.    
  • A $25.00 Inspection Fee is paid at the time of application. 
  • All permits will be approved or denied by the Whitefish Fire Department. The Whitefish Fire Marshal will conduct an on-site inspection of all property proposed for an open burning permit. The Whitefish Fire Department will have the authority to cancel any or all permits at any time due to fire conditions and other factors. One who receives an approved permit must contact the Air Quality Hotline at 406-751-8144 prior to ignition and maintain close supervision of the fire at all times
  • In the event assistance from the Whitefish Fire Department is required for containment or extinguishment, the permit holder will be responsible for all costs incurred by Whitefish Fire Department in its fire response.
  • 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 his or her 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 a 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. 
  • Due to possible wind, high temperatures, and low humidity, no new ignitions will be allowed after 10:00 AM.  All burn piles must be completely extinguished and cold to the touch by 6:00 PM.