Seeley Swan Pathfinder
March 4, 1999
Open burning permits are available, and residents in the Seeley Swan valley, which includes the Clearwater River and Swan River drainages, may obtain permits at the following offices: Residents south of the Summit on Highway 83 can obtain a permit at the Seeley Lake Rural Fire District, Clearwater Unit of the DNRC, or the Seeley Lake Ranger District; Residents north of the Summit can obtain their permits from the Swan Unit of the DNRC.
The Seeley Lake Rural Fire District office is open from 8 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday. The office will be closed on March 11th due to a meeting in Missoula.
You will need the following information for the permit: 1. Location of the burn (street and legal description); 2. Section township and range of the property (You can find this information on your Missoula County tax bill or off the closest power pole to the property. The power pole plate will read "MEC" followed by 2-two digit numbers and underneath those, there will be six more numbers); and 3. Name, mailing address and phone number.
There are permit conditions, and if they are not followed this could lead to possible fines and imprisonment for violating the Missoula Air Pollution Control regulations. One of the conditions is that before any burn is started, you must call the local Burn Hot-Line, 677-2899. You will reach a recording that will either give you the go-ahead to burn that day, or it will inform you of any restrictions and/or further instructions. This recording will be updated each time there is a change. The recording ends with a beep like a regular message machine, but you do not need to leave a message.
Here's an example of one of the hot line messages: During fire season, May 1 through September 30, the hot-line will inform you that you will need to get approval prior to each burn from the agency in which the property of the burn is situated (Agencies: State-Clearwater DNRC, (406) 244-5857 and Swan DNRC, 754-2301 or Federal-USFS, Seeley Lake Ranger Station 677-2233).
The burning season is basically from March 1 through September 30, but restrictions may, and often do increase depending on fire danger from May 1 through September 30.
All burning can be prohibited at any time depending on both fire danger and/or air quality conditions. Any burning between November 1 and November 30 falls under special rules and regulations. You may contact any of the local agencies for more information about that time period.
From December 1 through February 28 most burning is prohibited, and only the Missoula County Health Department can issue a burning permit during that period.
Please inform your neighbors prior to starting your burn. Agencies that respond to fires receive numerous false-alarm calls each year because a neighbor sees the smoke. This results in an unnecessary scare as well as costing the agencies time and money.
Burning household garbage and/or cardboard is not legal, and several people were cited last year for doing so. To report an illegal burn, residents may call 911.
If you have any questions, you may call any of the above agencies.