Outdoor Burning and Alternatives

Burn barrels are illegal ... they were banned in Washington state April of 2000.

Background of Outdoor Burning

Under the provisions of the 1990 Federal Clean Air Act (FCAA) the southern portion of Clark County was designated a non-attainment area for carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone (O3). This required a ban on outdoor burning within the non-attainment area and new restrictions on auto emissions and industrial pollutants. The area has since achieved attainment status and was designated a CO/O3 maintenance area. However, the restrictions remained in place to assure continuing attainment with the FCAA.

Updates on outdoor burning in southwest Washington

With the revision of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 173-425 in 2000, Washington's outdoor burning rules were revised. As of December 31, 2000 outdoor burning was prohibited in cities with a population of greater than 10,000 and their Urban Growth Areas. Prohibitions also apply in adjacent areas with a population density of one thousand or more persons per square mile and areas with a reasonable alternative to burning. As of January 1, 2007 all urban growth areas in the state of Washington are permanent no burn areas.

Visit our Interactive Burn Map page for burning information in your area

The above rules affect Clark, Cowlitz and Lewis Counties as follows:

  • Clark County - The southern Clark County no-burn area was expanded to include portions of the Vancouver, Camas and Washougal Urban Growth Areas that extend beyond the original non-attainment area. The Battle Ground no burn area (see map here) was created within the boundaries of its urban growth area. As of January 1, 2007 the urban growth areas of Ridgefield, Yacolt and La Center are also permanent no burn areas. For more information, click here.
  • Cowlitz County - The Longview/Kelso area currently meets the above requirements of WAC 173-425. The Longview/Kelso expanded no burn boundaries were created, effective May 1, 2002, and burning has been permanently banned within the city limits and surrounding areas. (See map here and description of the boundary here.) On January 1, 2007 the urban growth areas of Woodland and Castle Rock also became permanent no burn areas. For more information, click here.
  • Lewis County - Centralia, Chehalis and their surrounding urban growth areas meet the first of the above criteria and are therefore designated permanent no burn areas. On January 1, 2007 the urban growth areas of Napavine, Pe Ell, Winlock, Vader, Toledo, Mossyrock and Toledo also became permanent no burn areas. For maps and more information, click here.

Skamania and Wahkiakum Counties: Currently, cities/population densities in these counties do not meet any of the above criteria and therefore they are not currently designated as permanent no burn areas.

What is outdoor burning?

Outdoor burning is the combustion of material of any type in an open fire or in an outdoor container without providing for the control of combustion or the control of emissions from the combustion.

The outdoor burning regulations do not cover silvicultural, agricultural, or any outdoor burning on lands within the exterior boundaries of Indian Reservations. (WAC 173-425 and SWCAA 425)

Specifically the outdoor burning regulations apply to residential, land clearing, storm and flood debris, tumbleweed burning, weed abatement fires, fire fighting instruction fires, rare and endangered plant regeneration fires, Indian ceremonial fires, recreational fires, and other outdoor burning.

Can I burn with a permit?

Outdoor burning requirements vary depending on which county you are in. Click for information on your county below.

Clark County · Cowlitz County · Lewis County · Skamania County · Wahkiakum County

**Remember! If burning is allowed in your area, a smoke nuisance must not be created, and the only material that can be burned is natural vegetation grown on the property where burning occurs.

Are there alternatives to burning?

There are many alternatives to burning. Chipping, shredding, composting and other methods are out there to help reduce yard trimmings. Many cities have curbside pickup within the No Burn area. This is not a complete listing and the Southwest Clean Air Agency does not recommend any particular operator over another. For additional listings in all counties, check your local yellow pages.

Clark County has five drop-off sites for yard debris and wood waste.

  • McFarlanes, 8806 NE 117th Ave., Vancouver
  • Central Transfer and Recover, 11304 NE 117th Ave., Vancouver
  • West Van Materials Recover Center, 6307 NE Lower River Road, Vancouver
  • Triangle Resources, 612 SE Union, Camas

Chipper/Shredder Rentals

  • S & I Rental, 6710 NE 219th, Battle Ground, 574-1034
  • Bob's Rentals & Sales, 7094 NE Hwy 99, Vancouver, 573-4671
  • Clark County Saw & Tool, 7913 NE St. Johns Rd, Vancouver, 574-2755

Chipping, Mulching, Tub Grinder Services

  • Allwood Industries, 11218-A NE 66th St., Vancouver, WA, 360-260-7963, E-mail: claudio@wubben.com
  • Brush Munchers, 40313 SE Gibson Rd., Washougal, 360-835-9445, E-mail: jd_boldt@yahoo.com
  • Day Creek Contracting, LLC, 30626 S. Skagit Hwy., P.O. Box 347, Sedro-Woolley, 360-317-8599, E-mail: swartz@clearwire.net

Chipper/Shredder Retail Stores

  • Red's Saw Shop, 1411 W. Main, Battle Ground, 687-5717
  • Clark County Equipment, 17900 NE 72 Ave, Vancouver, 573-3171
  • Stark Street Lawn & Garden, 11827 SE Stark, Portland, 695-6099
  • Cenex, 310 E A Street, Battle Ground, 687-3113
  • Dan's Tractor, 8012 NE 219th St., Battle Ground, 687-3000
Additional contractors, rental facilities and retail stores in your area

Clark County
  • Action Stump Removal:  573-9024
  • All-Phase Tree Service:  636-8447
  • Albrecht Logging:  673-2415
  • Chip-Rite:  663-2447
  • Downs Excavating:  694-1027
  • Eagle Ridge:  225-5029
  • Rich Ezetta:  694-9065
  • Keiger's Stump Removal:  600-0972
  • M G & M Gillard:  256-7780
  • Mercer's Wood Chipping:  225-7378
  • Pruett Inc.:  635-3916
  • R & G Construction:  574-3677
  • Rotschy Inc.:  686-3072
  • Schmid and Sons:  694-9652
  • Solo Leasing and Development Corporation: 425-0151
  • Stump Masters Inc.:  274-8733
  • Wash Rotary-Az Corp:  892-7278
  • Westgate Landscaping:  574-2494
Cowlitz County
  • A. Arborman:  577-9143
  • Action Stump Removal:  573-9024
  • All-Phase Tree Service:  636-8447
  • Albrecht Logging:  673-2415
  • Champ's Tree Service:  423-0168
  • Downs Excavating:  694-1027
  • Eagle Ridge Corp:  225-5029
  • Rich Ezetta:  694-9065
  • Fiber Recovery Services, LLC: 501-4101
  • H & H Wood Recyclers:  892-2805
  • Mercer's Chipping:  225-7378
  • R & G Construction:  574-3677
  • Rotschy Inc.:  686-3072
  • Schmid & Sons:  694-9652
  • Solo Leasing and Development Corporation: 425-0151
  • Stump Masters Inc.:  274-8733
  • Wash Rotary-Ax Corp:  892-7278
  • Westgate Landscaping:  887-0696
Lewis County
  • B & R Tree Service:  357-9809
  • Cooper Logging & Tree Service:  456-8770
  • Davis Industrial Stump Grinding, Mulching & Land Clearing: 360-219-7072
  • Hayes Tree Service:  262-9822
  • Landclearing Services:  748-9993
  • Rich Ezetta:  694-9065
  • Ron's Stump Removal:  264-4969
  • Sharp Brothers Inc.:  273-9749
  • Solo Leasing and Development Corporation: 425-0151
  • Sun-in Tree Service:  800-660-5613
  • White's Stump Grinding and Landscape:  493-8787 
Skamania County
  • Action Stump Removal:  573-9024
  • All-Phase Tree Service:  636-8447
  • D & D Tree:  386-4696
  • Downs Excavating:  694-1027
  • Eagle Ridge:  225-5029
  • Rich Ezetta:  694-9065
  • Keiger's Stump Removal:  800-600-0972
  • Out on a Limb:  767-1543
  • R & G Construction:  574-3677
  • Rotschy Inc.:  686-3072
  • Schmid and Sons:  694-9652
  • Stump Masters Inc.:  274-8733
  • Wash Rotary-Ax Corp:  892-7278
  • Westgate Landscaping:  887-0696
Wahkiakum County
  • A. Arborman:  577-9143
  • Action Stump Removal:  573-9024
  • All-Phase Tree Service:  636-8447
  • Albrecht Logging:  673-2415
  • Champ's Tree Service:  423-0168
  • Downs Excavating:  694-1027
  • Rich Ezetta:  694-9065
  • R & G Construction:  574-3677
  • Rotschy Inc.:  686-3072
  • Solo Leasing and Development Corporation: 425-0151
  • Stump Masters Inc.:  274-8733
  • Thompson Stump Grinding:  748-9993
  • Wash Rotary-Ax Corp:  892-7278
Why should I compost?

Composting is the most practical and convenient way to handle your yard wastes. It can be easier and cheaper than bagging these wastes or taking them to the transfer station. Compost also improves your soil and the plants growing in it. If you have a garden, a lawn, trees, shrubs, or even planter boxes, you have a use for compost.

By using compost you return organic matter to the soil in a useable form. Organic matter in the soil improves plant growth by helping to break heavy clay soils into a better texture, by adding water and nutrient holding capacity to sandy soils, and by adding essential nutrients to any soil. Improving your soil is the first step toward improving the health of your plants. Healthy plants help clean our air and conserve our soil.

What can I compost?

Any vegetable matter can be composted. Yard wastes, such as fallen leaves, grass clippings, weeds and the remains of garden plants, make excellent compost. Used as a mulch for paths, they will eventually decompose and become compost.  Care must be taken when composting kitchen scraps. Meat, bones, and fatty foods (such as cheese, salad dressing, and leftover cooking oil) should be put in the garbage.