2024 Burn Morel Hunting Outlook

There is plenty of opportunity for the burn morel hunter this year! California, Oregon and Montana are the three most happening states. Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona also have a few nice fires.

Ready to get in on the hunt? Grab your 2024 Burn Morel Maps today >

2024 Will Reward Map Research

dinner at camground with fire morelsIn 2024 you will want to spend more time studying maps and planning routes because there are fewer large, destination fires overall. There is still plenty of opportunity out there, but you aren’t going to have your pick of massive fires to easily access, generally fires tend to be smaller. 2024 fires seem to have burned less severely, at least to my eyes, which is good news (burn morels like shady underbrush with a forest floor of needles and partially burned trees). We added burn severity and morel probability overlays to both A & B rated fires – I encourage you to check out these overlays this year. 

Don’t forget other burn morel hunting wisdom:

  • 2nd year burns are legit. Pay a visit to our 2023 maps (included w/ 2024 maps)
  • If you are willing to hike a few miles, your odds of finding troves of undisturbed morels improve.
  • Morels are slaves to mother nature. Follow the rain.
  • Late season can be awesome. Many hunters have given up by July. Head to high elevations late in the season.
  • Check out logged areas, use our Stewardship maps.

State-by-state Breakdown

California has a large epic fire East of San Francisco in the Stanaslaus National Forest with over 8000 acres of excellent terrain. Additionally, a bevy of fires are available in the Northwest corner of the state north of Eureka and West of the I-5.

Oregon has half a dozen excellent fires between Eugene and Bend, North of Crater Lake. There’s also a nice fire up near Mt Hood, a few more down on the border with California, and some B rated fires in the Coastal range if that is your thing. 

Montana has at least 5 large fires (between 5 and 10 square miles each) making it arguably the best state in the Lower 48.  The fires are all in proximity with each other North of Missoula and will probably attract a lot of later season pickers chasing those grays.

Washington is tough this year. It does have 20+ pickable fires around the state, but they tend to be small. That can really reward the average hobby hunter though because the commercial crews tend not to bother with smaller fires. 

Idaho only had three largish fires (above 3000 acres) that caught my eye, one each in the Boise National Forest, Salmon Challis National Forest and Coeur D’Alene National Forest. I did see another 5 or 6 smaller fires as well. But not the usual quantity or size of fire this year.

A pair of burn morels in pine needles in Idaho 2023Colorado has half a dozen fine looking fires spread around the state. They are smaller than many fires across the West – typically  1 to 4 square miles of burn. There is a little hot spot down near Pagosa springs with a few fires to choose from.

Arizona has 16 fires at an elevation above 7K which is a good sign. There are 4 or 5 that look especially promising. We would like to see some more snow!

Utah has 2 A rated fires that look especially promising.

New Mexico has one fire that looks nice. It is at high elevation and accessible by foot trail but did get burned pretty severely.

Want a glimpse of our maps in action? This short burn morel mapping tutorial will give you a peek. 

A few fun features 

Land Ownership maps are new this year and are handy to see public vs private land. They do lump all the Federal land into one shade of green. However, if you click on the map it displays a bevy of in0formation – in this case, the Wilderness designations, management agencies and more. This was from the Marlow fire in California which is in Wilderness and cannot be harvested.

This map shows the information that is revealed when the land ownership function is on. It provides details on federally owned land (not private owners).

 

The Snow Depth layer seems useful. I am using it to monitor a few burns.  It shows current snowpack.  

 

Google Maps has been updating their satellite pictures across the West at a more rapid pace. Recently (March 1st) I’m noticing more of last year’s fires are visible from the sky. For instance, here is a screenshot from a fire in Idaho:

This is the area of the Litte Bear Burn in Idaho. You can see the creek (and trail) running to the East of the fire. Note you can see heavily burned and lightly burned areas on the satellite view. Even unburned looking areas can have fire running underneath them (which is a healthy type of burn!) and is not to be disregarded

We have a few new map overlays coming soon, stay tuned for announcements on that front. Meanwhile, we are planning our Spring burn hunts now and doing our own armchair research. Happy hunting out there!

Ready to get in on the hunt? Grab your 2024 Burn Morel Maps today >

Showing 6 comments
  • Justin Whittaker
    Reply

    What about Alaska? Don’t forget about us up here.

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Yes! I have all the Alaska burns… but, I don’t know enough about Alaska to actually rank them. Not all the data from the lower 48 is available in Alaska either… probably 90% of it though.

  • Gene
    Reply

    Can I download to both my cellphone and laptop for one price?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      yes, for sure!

  • Jonathan Hawkins
    Reply

    Thank you so much for all of the hard work and countless hours put into this amazing resource! I am a novice Morel hunter and this gives me the confidence I need to go out there and start building my experience. I was wondering though, if there is a way to set a pin on the map to get coordinates?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Jonathan, thanks for the encouragement. Sorry, there is no way to set a pin (to get coordinates) – but you are the second person to ask recently, I will add that feature on the next go-around.

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