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Air Quality Program

Outdoor Burning (Non-Agricultural)

Brush stacked in a pile and burning with lots of smoke. This web site provides information about burning of household yard waste, such as leaves, grass, brush and other yard trimmings; and 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.  This web site does not include information on agricultural burning.


Is outdoor burning legal in Washington?

Outdoor burning is banned in all urban growth areas in Washington. If you live outside the boundaries of an urban growth area, it is legal to burn natural vegetation, but you should 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. Find out about exchanging your burn barrel for a compost bin.

Things to know before you burn

  • 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'x4'x3'.
  • 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:


Outdoor burning laws and rules

Other information

"Kids' Rights" Outdoor Burning Video (WMV File)

Spring 2009 Outdoor Burning Campaign (MP3 File) Audio Only

If you have questions, contact the clean air agency for your area.


Washington Burn Bans
Washington Wildfire Smoke Information Blog

Map of Washington's Air Monitoring Sites

What you can do instead of burning