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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 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.
  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'sOutdoor Burning Permit Informationfor requirements on outdoor burning.

**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:

  1. Residential 4’x4’ or smaller. If you want to burn a small pile (4’ x 4’ or less) you can get a verbal free of charge. Just call (360) 676-6934 and listen to the recording.
  2. Residential 4’x4’ to 10’x10’. For piles up to 10’x10’ you can get a residential permit that requires someone who is capable of controlling the fire with a garden hose to be present while burning. The hours of burning must be during daylight hours only, and the fee for this permit is $50 per week. To obtain a permit call (360) 676-6907 and ask for a burn permit inspection. An inspector will come to your property and inspect the burn area before issuing the permit.
  3. Commercial larger than 10’x10’. For piles over 10’x10’ you can get a commercial permit which will have machinery and fire hose requirements. The hours of burning are 24 hours a day, and the fee for this permit is $100 per day. To obtain a permit call (360) 676-6907 and ask for a burn permit inspection. An inspector will come to your property and inspect the burn area before issuing the permit.

If it is determined you need a permit for a fire greater than 4’ x 4’, please fill out ourBurn Permit Application Formand email the form 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.