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J.E. “Sam” Ryan, CBO

5280 Northwest Drive
Bellingham, Washington 98226
Telephone: (360) 676-6907

Open Burning Regulations



Washington State

Department of Natural Resources Fire Danger:


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 map to 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. 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.
  5. Review the Northwest Clean Air Agency's Outdoor Burning Permit Information for requirements on outdoor burning.

Open burning is currently restricted to allow only recreational fires.

Requirements for recreational fires:

  • 25’ from standing timber or any structure with overhead clearance of 15’.
  • May burn ONLY seasoned firewood or charcoal (no yard debris, branches, milled lumber, etc.)
  • Must be in an enclosure:  No larger than three (3) feet in diameter, minimum of 16” high walls made of cement block, rock, or #10 gauge steel.
  • Material being burned must be below the walls of the enclosure.
  • Charged garden hose or two 5-gallon buckets filled and on-site.
  • Shovel or rake must be on-site.
  • A person 16 or older must be in attendance at all times while the fire is hot.

Landowner’s permission must be obtained if not on the person’s own property.  This includes County, State, US Forest Park areas where an established fire ring is not in place.  (i.e. Birch Bay County beaches, and other public accessible lands without fire pits established)

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