What to Know about Visiting Southwest MT during Wildfire Season

Even on a good year, wildfires are an inevitable part of summers in the west, just like blizzards are inevitable in the winter. And, just like blizzards, there are a number of ways to prepare to ensure that your trip to Southwest Montana is an excellent experience, whatever the weather.

Your first port of call for information about fires is the Montana traveler information site. For current closures and restrictions visit the Fish, Wildlife, and Parks restrictions page, and for all fire activity head over to InciWeb.

Remember that the wildfires are being fought by professionals whose primary concern is public safety. This means that if an outdoor area is open, it is safe to visit. However, smoke can travel hundreds of miles, and you can often get smoky days even in areas without fires. So you’ll want to have smoky day plans (i.e. indoor, air-conditioned plans). Your best bet is to be flexible, have an itinerary full of outdoor activities for when the air is good, and plan on visiting some of Southwest Montana’s feature destinations, museums, or art galleries when the air is smoky. Also keep in mind the countless gigs, performances, and shows going on across the region.

And, of course, whatever the weather, you could fill an entire trip hitting up the best of the region’s restaurants, breweries, and distilleries.

Plan your activities using up-to-date air quality reports, consult the DPHHS website for more information on recreation and air quality.

Finally, when the air is good and you decide to head outside, remember to be fire safe. Follow all safety restrictions, never leave a campfire unattended, make sure all campfires are fully extinguished when you leave, and, even in places where campfires are permitted, consider using alternatives, like camp stoves.

We hope you enjoy your time in Southwest Montana, whatever the weather!