Avoid unnecessary burning
April 2, 2020 – During the COVID-19 crisis, local fire departments and first responders are doing everything they can to protect their own health so that they are ready to protect others. Many people in Washington communities are also extremely concerned about their respiratory health. So before starting an outdoor burn of any type, please consider the potential impacts on your neighbors and on local emergency responders, and postpone or cancel your burn if possible.
For information on alternatives to burning, visit ecology.wa.gov/burningalternatives. To report an illegal burn or unhealthy smoke, call 1-866-211-6284 or visit ecology.wa.gov/reportburning.
We oversee various types of outdoor burning to protect air quality. This includes land clearing, residential yard waste burning, and some fire training burns. Before you burn, check whether you need a permit, if the type of burning you want to do is allowed in your area, and if there is a burn ban in place.
What's illegal to burn
It's important to verify that what you want to burn is legal before you begin burning. You can be fined up to $10,000 per day for illegal burning.
Burning any type of garbage or construction debris is not allowed. This includes:
- Paper, cardboard and junk mail
- Construction debris, lumber and treated wood
- Plastics and petroleum products
- Dead animals
- Any substance that emits toxins or bad odors when burned
Using burn barrels is illegal
The fires in burn barrels receive little oxygen and create toxic smoke that stays low to the ground. Burn barrels are illegal statewide.
Report illegal burning
If you are having trouble breathing or if smoke from an outdoor burn is getting into your house, call 911 for immediate help or report illegal burning.
Urban growth area burning restrictions
An urban growth area (UGA) is land used for urban development. 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.
Before you burn anything, check if there is a burn ban in your area and if you are in an urban growth area.
Check if you are in an urban growth area.
OPTION A. USE THE MAP:
- Click on + sign on the map to zoom in to your area.
- Yellow shaded areas mark cities and urban growth areas.
- Click on a yellow shaded area to get more information (pop-up).
OPTION B. LOOK UP YOUR AREA BY COUNTY