Permits, precaution, potential penalties. They all come into play if you are thinking about burning.

Our friends at the Missoula County Fire Protection Association asked us if we would pass along some basic reminders. There's lots to keep in mind when taking on an outdoor burning project. And remember, there are consequences for carelessness.

Lots of "little things" contribute to home loss in a wildfire. You can fix most of these vulnerabilities. Outdoor burns that escape are the leading cause of wildfire in Missoula County during a typical season. Wildfire happens. Learn how you can prevent an unplanned event from ending in loss.

First things first, get a burn permit. You can obtain Missoula County Fire Protection Association permits for $7 on the MCFPA website here. Activate your permit each time you burn and choose a different day if conditions are too hot or too windy. Only burn natural vegetation and untreated lumber. No leaves or grass clippings.

Clear an area around your burn pile and keep it 50 feet from structures. Avoid all overhead obstructions like power lines and branches. Make sure you have tools and water nearby. You should attend your fire at all times and make sure it is out by 4:00 p.m.

MCFPA members want to prevent unwanted fire and its more destructive effects from occurring. One way to do this is to regulate the use of fire (purposeful ignitions) through an Outdoor Burn Permit System.

Please by safe, courteous and smart. Remember, if your fire escapes, you can be held responsible.

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