Burn Ban Status
Inslee Declares a state of emergency and issues a limited burn ban until 09/30/2021
Gov. Jay Inslee today declared a statewide state of emergency relating to the growing risk of wildfires, including a statewide prohibition on most outdoor and agricultural burning through September 30, 2021.
"Washington is facing a historic drought and we have already experienced record-breaking heat. We must be vigilant in our efforts to prevent wildfires, and the loss of life and destruction of land and property that comes with them,” Inslee said. “We don’t want a repeat of recent years with dangerous wildfires across the state that have destroyed towns, killed livestock and resulted in weeks of unhealthy air quality. I urge everyone to do their part to help protect our beautiful state and all our communities.”
“We have seen a record-breaking number of fires for this early in the summer,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “Extreme drought conditions leave communities across our state at risk as fire danger continues to climb. I’m asking everyone to do their part and take precautions to prevent wildfires. Our firefighters on the frontlines depend on us to help keep them safe.”
Although this order includes some burn ban exceptions (for example, the use of gas-fueled stoves in some circumstances and also small, recreational campfires in contained structures on a person’s private property) nothing in the order supersedes more restrictive provisions by a lawful authority, like city or county governments. The proclamation also activates the Washington National Guard to assist in wildfire suppression efforts.
Read the full proclamation here.
State law prohibits outdoor fires in urbanized areas (incorporated cities, suburbs and adjacent areas). The cities of Burien and Normandy Park; as well as the unincorporated areas of King County, also known as North Highline and South Park, are located within this mandated no-burn zone. State law allows only Native American ceremonial fires and very small recreational fires inside no-burn areas.
Native American Ceremonial Fires
State law defines these as fires "necessary for Native American ceremonies (i.e., conducted by and for Native Americans) if part of a religious ritual." If you wish to have Native American ceremonial fire outside of tribal lands, you must have a permit from the local fire district. These permits will not be granted during air-quality burn bans and fire-safety burn bans.
These are defined in state law as cooking fires, campfires and bonfires that occur in designated areas or on private property for cooking, pleasure or ceremonial purposes. These fires must be no larger than three feet in diameter and two feet high. You can use only charcoal, dried firewood or manufactured firelogs. Any other fuel is prohibited. Recreational fires are always prohibited during air-quality burn bans. Check with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to see what the current Burn Ban status is.
Fires lit in chimneys, fire pits, fire bowls and similar free-standing devices, commonly sold at home-improvement stores and mass retailers, are also considered “recreational” and should also only use charcoal, dried firewood or manufactured firelogs (some brands make outdoor-specific firelogs).
Other general requirements for a recreational fire, as stated in WAC 173-425-050(6) and IFC, section 307, state that:
It's always illegal to smoke out your neighbor.
If smoke from your fire bothers your neighbors, damages their property or otherwise causes a nuisance, you must immediately put it out. If enforcement is required, you could be fined up to $13,000 per day.
It's always illegal to use a BURN BARREL.
It's always illegal to burn prohibited materials.
These materials include:
To register a complaint about wood smoke from fireplaces and wood stoves, and for all other air quality complaints, visit www.pscleanair.org/contact/Pages/complaint.aspx.
If you have any questions, call 1-800-552-3565 (Washington only).
The above regulations are only a summary. For more information on these regulations, to find out ways to dispose of yard waste, and for a list of useful links for homeowners and businesses, please visit the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency web site on Facts About Outdoor Burning, or visit the links below.