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Director:
J.E. “Sam” Ryan, CBO

5280 Northwest Drive
Bellingham, Washington 98226
Telephone: (360) 676-6907
E-mail: pds@co.whatcom.wa.us

 
Open Burning Regulations

BURN BAN STATUS:

NO BURN BAN IN EFFECT

(Beginning 9/27/2014 at 8:00 AM)

Washington State

Department of Natural Resources Fire Danger:

LOW

Burning in Whatcom County is regulated by the International Fire Code and Washington Administrative Codes relative to air pollution requirements. If you would like to burn follow these steps to get a permit to burn:

  1. Check theWhatcom County burn mapto determine if your property is located in an area that allows open burning. Due to air pollution regulations open burning is prohibited in all cities and all urban growth areas (except recreational fires).
  2. Determine if you can burn the material you want to burn. Air pollution regulations prohibit burning any of the following: garbage, dead animals, asphalt, petroleum products, paints, rubber products, plastics, paper (other than enough to start a fire), cardboard, treated wood, construction or demolition debris (including untreated milled lumber), metal, or any substance other than natural vegetation.
  3. Do you live in Point Roberts or on Lummi Island? In these areas burn permits may be obtained by contacting your local fire district. Whatcom County Fire District 5 provides permits for Point Roberts, you can contact them by calling (360) 945-3473. Whatcom County Fire District 11 provides permits for Lummi Island, you can contact them by calling (360) 758-2411.
  4. Review the Northwest Clean Air Agency'sOutdoor Burning Permit Informationfor requirements on outdoor burning.
  5. Along with Whatcom County Fire Marshall's Office, Fire District 5 and Fire District 11, the other agencies that issue burn permits are: Department of Natural Resources, Northwest Clean Air Agency, Lummi Nation, US Forest Service, US Park Service.

RULES THAT APPLY TO ALL BURNING

  • ALL FIRES MUST BE ATTENDED BY 16 Y/O OR OLDER
  • CAN ONLY BURN NATURAL VEGETATION GROWN ON THAT PROPERTY.
  • NO BURN BARRELS ALLOWED ANYWHERE AT ANY TIME.
  • NO BURNING OF PAPER OR CARDBOARD (EXCEPT TO GET FIRE STARTED)
  • NO BURNING OF HOUSEHOLD GARBAGE
  • NO CONSTRUCTION DEBRIS/MILLED LUMBER OF ANY KIND.
  • NO BURNING AT ANY COMMERCIAL BUSINESS
  • NO BURNING WHEN WINDS EXCEED 7 MPH.

NUISANCE SMOKE COMPLAINTS REQUIRE THAT ALL FIRES BE EXTINGUISHED! (INCLUDES PERMITTED/LEGAL BURNS)

**If you are in an area where outdoor burning is prohibited, or a burn ban is in effect, please visit theYard Waste Disposal Options pageto see alternatives to land-clearing and yard waste burning.

Once you have determined you are in an area where the Fire Marshal’s office issues permits and the material you want to burn is legal, you can apply for one of the following types of burn permits:

RESIDENTIAL YARD DEBRIS

  • UP TO 4’ X 4’ PILE WITH VERBAL PERMIT (Phone: (360) 676-6934)
  • UP TO 10’ X 10’ WITH WRITTEN PERMIT (Phone: (360) 676-6934 or vist our office at the Planning and Development Services Office.)
  • 50 FT. FROM STRUCTURES, TIMBER, COMBUSTIBLES
  • GARDEN HOSE OR (2) 5-GALLON BUCKETS AT FIRE FOR 4’ X 4’ PILE
  • GARDEN HOSE OR 55-GALLON WITH PUMP/HOSE AT FIRE FOR 10’ X 10’ PILE
  • HAND TOOLS REQUIRED ON-SITE
  • BAREGROUND FIRE BREAK REQUIRED AND 15 FT. CLEAR OVERHEAD.
  • DAYLIGHT HOURS BURNING ONLY
  • FEE: $50.00 PER 7 DAY PERIOD

LAND-CLEARING/COMMERCIAL

  • UP TO 25’ X 25’ PILE (Phone: (360) 676-6907 to request an inspection and apply for a commercial land-clearing permit)
  • ONE PILE BURNING AT A TIME UNLESS PERMITTED OTHERWISE
  • 50 FT FROM STRUCTURES, TIMBER, COMBUSTIBLES, POWER LINES
  • 350 GAL. WATER, 1.5” HOSE, PUMP REQUIRED AT FIRE
  • EXCAVATOR REQUIRED WITH OPERATOR WHILE BURNING
  • FAN REQUIRED TO START FIRE
  • FIREBREAK BETWEEN PILES MUST EQUAL SIZE OF PILE
  • 24 HOURS A DAY BURNING ALLOWED AS PERMITTED
  • FEE: $100.00 PER DAY

RECREATIONAL/CAMPFIRE

  • NO PERMIT IS REQUIRED FOR RECREATIONAL FIRES IN WHATCOM COUNTY.
  • UP TO 3’ X 3’ OF SEASONED FIREWOOD OR CHARCOAL ONLY
  • MUST HAVE ENCLOSURE 16” HIGH, MADE OF STEEL OR MASONRY/ROCKERY.
  • 25 FT. FROM STRUCTURES, TIMBER, COMBUSTIBLE MATERIAL
  • 15 FT. OVERHEAD CLEARANCE REQUIRED
  • GARDEN HOSE OR (2) 5-GALLON BUCKETS OF WATER AT FIRE
  • HAND TOOLS REQUIRED ON-SITE

    ALLOWED AFTER DARK IF ATTENDED UNTIL FIRE IS OUT COLD

If you need a permit for a fire greater than 4’ x 4’, please fill out ourBurn Permit Application Formand email the form tofiremarshal@co.whatcom.wa.us. A fire inspector will contact you to arrange a time for a site inspection. Or phone the Fire Marshal’s Office for a burn site inspection and fire inspector will collect your form at the site or instruct you to hand deliver the application to the Planning and Development Services department when you pick-up your permit.

All requests for burn inspections must be made at least one working day in advance of when you want the inspection. Once the inspection is made you will still need to come into the permit center to obtain the actual permit. Plan ahead to make your permitting process easier for everyone.

Please contact the Whatcom County Burn Information Line at 676-6934 for a verbal burn permit, more information, or to speak to a fire inspector.