Report burning and air quality issues

We regulate all outdoor burning in Washington except forest burning, which is regulated by the Washington Department of Natural Resources. Report illegal burning or if you are being impacted by smoke.

Report illegal burning or smoke

Statewide reporting number Tribal land
1-800-424-4EPA (1-800-424-4372)
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time
or email

Have the following information ready:

  • Your name and phone number. If we don't have this, we won't be able to contact you if we need more information. However, you may call anonymously
  • Date and time of burning
  • The county and town you live in
  • The nature of your complaint or comment
  • Specific location of smoke (if known)
  • Source of smoke (if known)
  • Landowner and/or burner (if known)
  • A detailed description including what is being burned

What and where you can burn

​When you burn, smoke must not impact your neighbors and you must put out your fire if it does. Learn about what is legal to burn.  Always check for a burn ban before you burn.

Quick facts:

  • Burning in a burn barrel is illegal in Washington.
  • Outdoor burning is illegal in all urban growth areas. People who don't live in an urban growth area can burn yard waste (like leaves, grass, brush and other yard trimmings) as long as their smoke doesn't impact neighbors.  Consider alternatives to burning
  • For agricultural burning to clear land, remove crop residue, and pest infestations, you must first get a permit. The smoke from an agricultural burn must not affect others or endanger their health.

Why outdoor burning is a problem

Smoke from outdoor burning pollutes the air, causing serious health problems. Much like cigarette smoke, the smoke from burning leaves, grass, brush, and tree needles can cause asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, and lung cancer. Children, the elderly, and those with breathing problems are harmed the most by poor air quality.

Burning also pollutes water and soil when smoke particles fall into them.

Backyard fires can get out of control fast and cause wildfires. You can be held responsible for the cost of putting out your fire, which can be expensive and dangerous.

Smoke from outdoor burning can be just as bad for your health as cigarette smoke. Protect yourself, your family, and your neighbors by choosing not to burn.