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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 State 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

Contents:

  • Agricultural Burning Permit Applications
  • Permit Fees to Change
  • Daily burn/no-burn decisions
  • Post-Burn Reporting Forms (Blue Cards)

  • Agricultural burning permit applications

    You must have an agricultural burning 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 to Change

    As of July 1, 2012, the fees for Agricultural Burning Permits have changed.

    Agricultural Burning Fee Schedule

    Fee

    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 $1.00 for each additional ton

     

    Agricultural Burning Fee Distribution

    Fee

    Permitting Authority Administration

    Research

    Smoke Management

    Field Burning Minimum Fee $15.00 $0 $22.50
    Field Burning Variable Fee $1.25 $0.50 $2.00
    Spot Burning Fee $15.00 $0 $22.50
    Pile Burning Minimum Fee $16.00 $16.00 $48.00
    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 Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 173-430-042). This determination was followed by a public hearing and response to comments received, 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 decisions

    To help reduce smoke-related environmental and health concerns, the Department of Ecology's Eastern Washington Burn Team 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 citizens. You can get burn call information at:

    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 in question makes the daily burn decision for that county. If you have questions about the daily burn decision, please contact the correct office for your county:

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

    Central Regional Office (CRO: 509-575-2490
    Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat and Okanogan counties

    Post-Burn Reporting Forms (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

    Other County


    QUICK LINKS


    Put your name on an email list for daily burn decision information

    Alternatives to burning

    Burn zone maps

    Best Management Practices for burning

    Contact your local air quality agency