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Planning & Building Division

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Brian Shea, Director
100 W Broadway
Suite 31
Montesano, WA  98563

(360) 249-5579

(360) 249-3203

Office Hours
8 am to 5 pm


            Planning and Building Home

 Outdoor Burning Rules

For Unincorporated Grays Harbor County

Residential Burning and Land Clearing Burning


The following does not apply to burning within the limits of any city.


The following does not apply to lands “under the protection of” the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which are “all lands subject to the forest protection assessment under RCW 76.04.610 (such lands include any parcel of at least .01 acre with trees thereon, a property tax statement will indicate whether the parcel to be burned upon is subject to such assessment).  Permits for burning on such lands are issued by the DNR Central Region office, 1-800-527-3305.


Outdoor burning is regulated pursuant to the requirements of Chapter 70.94 RCW and the rules promulgated thereto and contained in Chapter 173-425 WAC.



Residential Burning – “means the outdoor burning of leaves, clippings, pruning, and other yard and gardening refuse originating on lands immediately adjacent and in close proximity to a human dwelling and burned on such lands by the property owner or his or her designee.”  [WAC 173-425-030(22)]


Recreational Fire – “means cooking fires, campfires, and bonfires using charcoal or firewood that occur in designated areas or on private property for cooking, pleasure, or ceremonial purposes.” [WAC 173-425-030(21)]


Land Clearing Burning – “means outdoor burning of trees, stumps, shrubbery, or other natural vegetation from land clearing projects (i.e., projects that clear the land surface so it can be developed, used for a different purpose, or left unused).” [WAC 173-425-030(9)]


Prohibited Materials – “The following materials may not be burned in any outdoor fire:  garbage, dead animals, asphalt, petroleum products, paints, rubber products, plastics, paper (other than what is necessary to start a fire), cardboard, treated wood, construction/demolition debris, or any substance (other than natural vegetation) that normally releases toxic emissions, dense smoke, or obnoxious odors when burned…”  [WAC 173-425-050(1)]


The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency is authorized to levy penalties against those who burn such prohibited materials.  Grays Harbor County cannot issue permits for burning of prohibited materials.





Residential Burning – No permit is required for residential burning.  [WAC 173-425-060(2)(a)]


Recreational Burning – No permit is required for recreational burning. [WAC 173-425-060(2)(j)]


Land Clearing Burning – A written permit is required from the state Department of Natural Resources, Central Region office. [WAC 173-425-060(2)(b)]


Hauled Materials – “No outdoor fire may contain material (other than firewood) that has been hauled from an area where outdoor burning of material is prohibited under WAC 173-425-040.” [WAC 173-425-050(2)]


Since outdoor burning is, as of January 1, 2001, prohibited within Aberdeen, Hoquiam, and Cosmopolis, materials may not be hauled from those cities for burning in unincorporated areas of Grays Harbor County.




“The following conditions apply to all residential burning without a permit under WAC 173-425-060…” [WAC 173-425-060(5)(c)]


  1. The person responsible for the fire must ascertain the burning conditions for each day.
  2. A fire may not be ignited, and must be extinguished, if an air pollution episode, impaired air quality conditions, or fire danger burn ban that applies to the burning, is declared for the area.
  3. The fire must contain only “natural vegetation” and may contain only enough paper to ignite the fire.
  4. The fire must not include materials hauled from another property.
  5. If emissions from the fire are detrimental to the health, safety, or welfare of any person; if it causes damage to property or business; or if it causes a nuisance; the fire must be extinguished immediately.
  6. A person capable of extinguishing the fire must attend it at all times, and the fire must be extinguished before leaving it.
  7. No fires are to be within 50 feet of structures.
  8. The property owner must approve burning or the owner’s designated representative, before burning is commenced.
  9. No burn pile shall be larger than four (4) feet by four (4) feet by three (3) feet.
  10. Only one pile at a time may be burned, and each pile must be extinguished before lighting another.
  11. If an outdoor container is used for burning, it must be constructed of concrete or masonry with a completely enclosed combustion chamber and equipped with a permanently attached spark arrestor constructed of iron, heavy wire mesh, or other noncombustible material with openings not larger than one-half (1/2) inch.
  12. No fire is permitted within five hundred (500) feet of forest slash.




Neighbors – Burning, of any material, produces emissions that are harmful to human health.  Such emissions are particularly harmful to those with respiratory illnesses, to which the elderly and children are often more susceptible.  Please exercise basic consideration for others when you burn.


Fire Danger – Please also exercise basic common sense in assessing the fire danger before you begin burning.  Call DNR at 1-800-527-3305 to determine the level of fire danger.


Burn Bans – Before burning, please determine if a burn ban has been declared.  Call the DNR Central Region or check with the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency at 1-800-422-5623 or at to determine if either agency has declared a burn ban.


Notice – Before burning call central dispatch at 360-533-8765 and notify the dispatcher that you will be burning.


Questions – Call the Fire Marshal office of the Grays Harbor County Department of Public Services at 360-249-5579 ext. 437.


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