Program Template photo identifier

Air Quality Program

A photograph of a combine (large tractor) mowing wheat.

Agricultural Burning

The way agricultural burning is managed is changing in the Northwest, with Washington leading the way. This change is part of a comprehensive revision of the state's air pollution laws that affects not just agriculture, but many other commercial, individual and governmental activities. The Clean Air Washington Act of 1991 (Chapter 70.94 RCW) states that those who contribute to air pollution will share the job of protecting air quality.

Agricultural burning is setting fire to:

  • Crop residue after harvest in order to reduce excess plant material and hinder pest infestations
  • Fruit tree debris from orchards after pruning or tree removal
  • Cereal grain (wheat, barley, corn, and oats) stubble after harvest

Agricultural burn permit application

You must have an agricultural burn permit to do any agricultural burning.

While it is legal to burn for approved agronomic reasons with a permit, it is not legal to allow smoke to impact others. The agricultural burning of field crop residue and orchard tear-out residue can directly impact the safety and health of citizens breathing the smoke-filled air. See Chapter 173-430 WAC - Agricultural Burning for more information.

Permit Fees

Fees for agricultural burn permits changed in 2012.

Agricultural Burning Fee Schedule


Minimum Fee

Variable Fee

Field burning $37.50 first 10 acres $3.75 for each additional acre
Spot burning $37.50 for 10 acres or less none
Pile burning $80 for first 80 tons $1 for each additional ton


Agricultural Burning Fee Distribution


Permitting Authority Administration


Smoke Management

Field burning minimum fee $15 none $22.50
Field burning variable fee $1.25 $0.50 $2
Spot burning fee $15 none $22.50
Pile burning minimum fee $16 $16 $48
Pile burning variable fee $0.10 per ton $0.10 per ton $0.80 per ton


The Agricultural Burning Practices and Research Task Force determined the above fee levels and distribution schedule at its last regular meeting on November 8, 2011 (as required by WAC 173-430-042). This determination was followed by a public hearing and response to public comments, as also required by the WAC. View the comments received on the fee changes and Ecology's response to each comment.

The legislature directed Ecology in language attached to the 2012 budget package to make these fee changes effective July 1, 2012.

Daily Burn/No Burn Decision

To help reduce smoke-related environmental and health concerns, Ecology makes a daily burn/no burn decision called the "burn call" for agricultural burning permit holders. The burn call provides daily current and forecasted air quality conditions and burn decisions to the public. For burn call information:

You can also use the links below to subscribe or unsubscribe from email lists used to distribute the daily burn decisions.

ERO listserv (Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties)

CRO listserv (Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat, and Okanogan Counties)

The Ecology regional office responsible for the county makes the daily burn decision for that county. If you have questions about the daily burn decision, contact the appropriate office for your county:

Eastern Regional Office: 509-329-3400
Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties

Central Regional Office: 509-575-2490
Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat, and Okanogan Counties

Post-Burn Reporting Forms (aka Blue Cards)

Contact us for these counties: Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties

Contact us for these counties: Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat and Okanogan Counties

Contacts for other counties


Daily burn decision email list

Alternatives to burning

Burn zone maps

Best Management Practices for burning

Washington clean air agencies