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Fire & Life Safety
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Burning Dos and Don’ts
Burn Restrictions in effect as of July 22.
Outdoor burning may be restricted depending on type of burning and the time of year. These restrictions are intended to reduce fire danger and protect public health.
BURN GUIDELINES – Use this flowchart to help you decide if the burning you are considering is allowed.
Never Allowed – Outdoor burning for disposal purposes is illegal in SVFD’s service area, including:
- Garbage – burning garbage is prohibited in Washington State
- Yard and garden debris – including garden trimmings, tree branches, grass clippings, leaves, needles, etc., that originates on the maintained, improved area of a property. Read more about alternatives to burning yard debris.
- Burn Barrels – outlawed in Washington State in 2000. Smoke from burn barrels is noxious because the fires burn at low temperatures, receiving very little oxygen and producing excessive smoke and other toxic substances.
- Outdoor Wood-Fired Hydronic Heaters (residential) – also called outdoor wood-fired boilers, used to heat water which is piped to buildings to provide heat and hot water. These units emit unhealthy levels of smoke and air pollutants.
May Be Allowed – Depending on geographic location and time of year, some types of outdoor burning may be legal:
- Recreational Fires – such as backyard fire pits or campfires using approved fuels such as seasoned chopped firewood, charcoal, natural gas or propane. Recreational fires may be allowed or prohibited, depending on the season of the year. Generally, during the hot dry summer months, a Fire Danger Burn Restriction is ordered by SVFD. Read more.
- Designated Campfires – in state parks and campgrounds may be allowed as approved and determined by agencies with jurisdiction – regulated by the Department of Natural Resources. Read more.
- Silvicultural Natural Debris from Unimproved Property – depending on where you live, you may be able to burn natural vegetation from acreage beyond maintained, improved areas of property – with a permit. Call Spokane Clean Air to check burning boundary maps. For a burn permit, call the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) at 509-685-6900.
Allowed – With approved fuels in devices used appropriately:
- Manufactured portable outdoor devices – fireplaces, chimineas, barbeques and patio warmers used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
- Approved fuels in appropriate device – clean and dry seasoned firewood, charcoal, natural gas or propane gas
Consequences – financial impact to residents who fails to follow outdoor burning regulations
- Backyard fires – that get out of control set off most of the wildfires caused by people. You can be held responsible for the cost of putting out your out-of-control fire and any property damage it caused, which can be very costly
- Illegal burning – SVFD tracks all “burning” incident calls. On the second incident, a warning letter is issued. On the third incident, SVFD sends the information to Spokane Clean Air to impose a fine, which can range from $800-$10,000.
- Compliance – any person found with a recreational fire or conducting open burning who fails to take immediate action to extinguish or otherwise discontinue such burning when ordered or notified to do so shall be charged with a misdemeanor (IFC 109; SCC 3.02)