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Air Quality Program

Burning - Outdoor ResidentialBrush stacked in a pile and burning with lots of smoke.

Outdoor burning is burning of household yard waste, such as leaves, grass, brush and other yard trimmings. It is also burning to clear land of trees, stumps, shrubbery, or other natural vegetation.  Ecology regulates all types of outdoor burning except forest burning, which is regulated by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

Is outdoor burning legal in Washington?

Outdoor burning is banned in urban growth areas. If you live outside an urban growth area, it is legal to burn natural vegetation, but consider alternatives to burning. Find out what you can do instead of burning.

Garbage burning and burn barrels are illegal everywhere in Washington, and have been for many years.

Things you should know before you do any outdoor burning

  • Burn barrels are illegal.
  • Burning is not the only way to dispose of natural vegetation. Consider composting and chipping.
  • Where residential burning is allowed, the burn pile must be smaller than 4 feet x 4 feet x 3 feet.
  • You may burn only one pile at a time.
  • When and where burning is allowed, you may only burn unprocessed natural vegetation.
  • Your smoke must not impact your neighbors, and you must put out your fire if it does.
  • Do not leave your fire unattended.
  • The fire should not include materials hauled from another property.
  • It is illegal to burn construction and demolition debris.
  • Always check with your local fire department for permit and safety requirements before you light any outdoor fire.
  • You are encouraged (and may be required) to call and follow our Burn Day Hotline:


For more information

Contact Ecology or the local clean air agency for your area.

Related link

Kids Have the Right to Breathe Clean Air video

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