Outdoor & residential burning

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Emergency burning limits

Due to the Governor's Emergency Proclamation, outdoor and permit-exempt agricultural burning is banned statewide through Sept. 30, 2021. For a burn permit issued by a local fire district or clean air agency, contact them.

To protect air quality, we oversee burning of land clearing debris and residential yard waste.

Try composting your yard debris instead of burning it.

Before you burn, check if:

What's illegal to burn

Burning garbage or construction debris is illegal. This includes:

  • Paper, cardboard, or junk mail
  • Construction debris, lumber, or treated wood
  • Rubber
  • Metal
  • Plastics or petroleum products
  • Dead animals
  • Asphalt
  • Anything that emits toxins or bad odors when burned

You can be fined up to $10,000 per day for illegal burning.

Using a burn barrel is illegal

Burn barrels are illegal statewide. A fire in a burn barrel creates toxic smoke that stays low to the ground. That toxic smoke is bad for your health.

Report illegal burning

If you see illegal burning or smoke is getting into your house, report illegal burning.

Burning in an urban growth area

Most burning is illegal in an urban growth area (UGA). An urban growth area is land used for urban development in and around communities. Even if you live outside city limits, you may still live inside an urban growth area. Land outside an urban growth area (like agricultural, rural, and natural land) is protected from urban sprawl. Where you live determines whether you can burn.

Check if you are in an urban growth area

Use the map to check if you're in an urban growth area:

  • Option A:  Go to the full map to search for an address.
  • Option B:  Click on + sign on the map to zoom in to your area. Click on a yellow shaded area to get more information (pop-up). Yellow shaded areas mark cities and urban growth areas.

Map of urban growth areas (UGAs).  Go to the full map.

If you live outside an urban growth area, you may have limited burning. 

Allowed burning includes:

  • Barbecues. Burn only briquettes, propane, or dry, seasoned firewood.
  • Campfires. Fire must not be bigger than 3 feet x 3 feet x 2 feet. Burn only dry, seasoned firewood.
  • Dry yard and garden waste. Fire must not be bigger than 4 feet x 4 feet  x 3 feet. Burn only natural, unprocessed vegetation.

You must:

  • Get permission from your local fire district before you burn.
  • Keep the fire 50 feet away from any structure.
  • Attend the fire at all times.
  • ​Have water nearby to put out the fire.
  • Make sure your smoke doesn't affect your neighbors.

If you live inside an urban growth area, you can only have a recreational or tumbleweed fire.

Allowed burning includes:

  • Barbecues. Burn only briquettes, propane, or dry, seasoned firewood.
  • Campfires. Fire must not be bigger than 3 feet x 3 feet x 2 feet. Burn only dry, seasoned firewood.
  • Burning tumbleweed. A burn permit may be required in communities with more than 250,000 people. Check with your local clean air agency.

Alternatives to burning

  • Grasscycle — Leave grass clippings on your lawn to add nutrients back into the soil for a healthy lawn.
  • Compost — Break down your yard waste (leaves, grass, prunings) in a bin or a pile to make compost.
  • Chip — Chip branches and prunings to use in your garden as free mulch.
  • Curbside pickup — Recycle your yard waste with curbside pickup. Check with your local government or waste management company to see if this is available.
  • Community or neighborhood cleanup days — Check with your local government to see if your community has a cleanup event to dispose of yard waste.
  • Landfills — Recycle your yard waste at the landfill or a community drop-off location. Check with your local government or waste management company to see if this is available.

Contacts for other questions

County Phone Email
Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat, and Okanogan counties 509-575-2490 agburnteamcro@ecy.wa.gov
Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman counties 509-329-3400 agburnteamero@ecy.wa.gov
San Juan County 360-407-6822 sean.lundblad@ecy.wa.gov
Benton, Spokane, Yakima, and Western Washington counties (except San Juan County) Contact your local clean air agency Contact your local clean air agency