Montana is 93 million acres of spectacular unspoiled nature. Because of our diverse landscape and weather, wildfires happen as a natural part of Montana’s ecology. Sometimes a fire occurs near a popular destination, but there’s no reason to let it stop you from enjoying your Montana experience.
Montana’s wildland fire season generally starts mid-summer. At that time, the information below will be updated about current fires with potential impacts on travel. If a fire is occurring near your destination, remember it’s being managed by experts whose top priority is public safety. If an area is open, it’s safe.
If you have questions or would like assistance with your Montana itinerary, feel free to call a travel counselor at 800.847.4868 or go to VISITMT.com to start a live chat.
Latest Activity – UPDATED WEEKLY – CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST UPDATE
Updated July 12, 2021 11:15 AM
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Yellowstone National Park has upgraded to “very high” fire danger. All roads and attractions are open.
Yellowstone National Park is currently under ‘Stage 1 Fire Restrictions’.
Charcoal or wood fire campfires in the backcountry and on trails is prohibited, including those in established fire rings. Smoking is also prohibited except immediately adjacent to the provided fire ring in designated campsites or within a 3-foot-diameter area barren of all flammable material (e.g. standing in water, on a boat).
Portable gas stoves and lanterns are permitted in the backcountry and on trails in areas that are barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet.
Smoking is permitted in the frontcountry and developed areas only in an enclosed vehicle; a single-family dwelling; a developed campground; a day-use picnic area; within a 3-foot-diameter area that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
Campfires in designated fire rings in frontcountry developed campgrounds (Madison, Mammoth, Slough Creek, Canyon, Indian Creek, Pebble Creek, Lewis Lake, Grant Village and Bridge Bay) and day-use picnic areas. All campfires must be cold to the touch before abandoning. Soak, stir, feel, repeat.
SMOKE AND AIR QUALITY CONDITIONS
Some moderate air quality conditions are being reported in parts of Montana due to smoke from fires to the west of Montana.
Northern Montana: Flathead Valley, Missoula, Seeley Lake, Great Falls
Southern Montana: Butte, Bozeman, West Yellowstone, Billings, Broadus
Multiple factors contribute to air quality and conditions can change often. Refer to the Montana DEQ Air Quality link below for the most current information.
STAGE ONE FIRE RESTRICTIONS
Stage One Fire Restrictions are now in place for the following areas in Montana:
- Custer Gallatin National Forest including Lee Metcalf: National Forests adjacent to West Yellowstone, Big Sky, Livingston, Gardiner, Red Lodge
- Kootenai National Forest: Located in northwest Montana
- Lincoln County: Located in northwest Montana and areas adjacent to Libby, Eureka, and Troy.
- Toole, Pondera, Teton, Choteau, Lewis & Clark, Cascade, Judith Basin, Sweet Grass, Wheatland and Golden Valley Counties: Located in north and central Montana
- Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest: Located in central Montana
- Silver Bow, Beaverhead, Madison and Gallatin Counties: Located in southern Montana
- Rosebud, Treasure, Custer, Carter, Petroleum and Big Horn Counties: Located south and east of Billings
- Crow Agency: Located south of Billings
- Phillips, Valley, Petroleum, Garfield, McCone, Richland, and Dawson Counties, Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge: Located in northeastern Montana
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions require users to build, maintain, attend or use campfires and charcoal fires only at developed or designated recreation sites or campgrounds in an agency provided metal fire ring. Smoking is allowed only within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is cleared of all flammable materials. Remember to bring a bucket, water, shovel and to always leave your campfire dead out, which means no heat to the touch.
STAGE TWO FIRE RESTRICTIONS
Stage Two Fire Restrictions are now in place for the following areas in Montana:
- Musselshell, Stillwater, Yellowstone, and Carbon Counties: Located around the Billings area
- Northern Cheyenne Tribe: Big Horn and Rosebud counties: Located in southeast Montana.
Stage 2 Fire Restrictions prohibit building maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire; smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials; operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails.
See the view before you go from a variety of webcams across the state.
NOTE: The following links go to websites maintained by third parties.
National Park Service
If smoke is heavy or you’re sensitive to it, you may wish to consider adjusting your itinerary until air quality improves.
Try exploring a different area (see things to do at VisitMT.com).
Even if you see smoke, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re close to a fire. Sometimes smoke blows in from hundreds of miles away.
For up-to-date air quality conditions from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, click here.
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services maintains a website with health information related to wildfire smoke. To access it, click here.
- Map of current fire restriction information by area for the state of Montana
- InciWeb (interactive map of active fire incidents across Montana)
- Montana Department of Transportation – Travel Conditions/Alerts, Closures & Incidents
- Resources for the tourism industry (regions, CVBs, visitor information centers, etc.)
Do Your Part This Wildland Fire Season
As the weather becomes warmer and wildland vegetation, or fuels, begin to dry out, it is time to plan for wildland fires. Here are some tips to help you #RecreateResponsibly and do your part for wildfire prevention and safety during this fire season.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO – Know how to prevent wildfires by properly using outdoor equipment, learning campfire safety, and checking for fire restrictions and closures.
PLAN AHEAD – Know what fire restrictions are in place at your destination, and check if campfires, barbecues, and flammables are allowed.
EXPLORE LOCALLY – Impacts from wildfire can change your travel plans. Have a back-up plan, like close-to-home gems that you have yet to explore.
PRACTICE PHYSICAL DISTANCING – Give people space – it’s critical to not crowd firefighting efforts. Wildfires are no-drone-zones.
PLAY IT SAFE – From fireworks to camp stoves, understand the potentially explosive nature of your toys and tools – some may be restricted in your location.
LEAVE NO TRACE – Keep your campfire small, ensure that its out completely and cold to the touch prior to leaving or going to sleep.
BUILD AN INCLUSIVE OUTDOORS – Everyone experiences the outdoors differently, and we can work together to keep our communities safe.