Outdoor Burn Regulations

East Pierce Fire & Rescue 57

Burn Ban Status

Fire Safety Burn Ban in Effect

A burn ban for unincorporated Pierce County is in effect from 8 a.m. Friday, June 1, 2024, until further notice. Visit Pierce County Fire Prevention Bureau for more information.

EPFR Residents: There is no change for you. EPFR does not allow outdoor burning, except for recreational fires, from June 1 – Sept 30. Recreational fires are allowed UNLESS an air quality or fire safety burn ban restricts them.

Outdoor Burning Requirements

The following general requirements must be met for burning within East Pierce Fire & Rescue’s jurisdiction:

  • Fires shall have a competent person (attendant), at least 18 years of age, present on the immediate fire site at all times.
  • The attendant must verify that there are no burn bans in effect before ignition.
  • Fires must be maintained to assure maximum burning efficiency.
  • A garden hose connected to a water supply, or a shovel and five (5) gallons of water must be at the burn site at all times.
  • Only one fire may be burned at a time on a parcel of land.
  • Fires will not be lit if the wind is blowing more than 5 miles per hour. Lit fires will be extinguished if winds begin to blow more than 5 miles per hour.
  • No fires shall be allowed on any public or private right-of-way or in any lake bottom.
  • Fires shall be a minimum of ten (10) feet of adjoining property lines, fences, or docks and the surrounding area shall be clear with no overhanging branches.
  • See Residential Fire Requirements and Recreational Fire Requirements below for additional regulations.
In Washington State, It Is Illegal To:
  • Use a BURN BARREL.
  • Burn prohibited materials including:
    • Garbage or refuse
    • Cardboard and paper
    • Building materials including paints, vinyl flooring, roofing and scrap lumber
    • Rubber products, including tires
    • Plastics or petroleum products
    • Material that produces smoke that is offensive or harmful to your neighbors
  • Smoke out your neighbor. If they complain, you are required to put the fire out immediately – even if you have been issued a burn permit. You can be fined for causing a nuisance, and you may be held financially liable for damages caused by your fire.

Follow These Requirements for Recreational & Residential Fires

Recreational Fire Requirements

Recreational fires are allowed (without a permit) throughout East Pierce Fire & Rescue’s jurisdiction only after the following regulations have been met:

  • Limited to burning dry, seasoned wood or charcoal briquettes only (no garbage, yard waste, etc.).
  • Not to exceed three-feet in diameter by two two-feet in height.
  • Setback from structures at least 25′.
  • Must be for the purpose of cooking, pleasure or religious ceremonies.

View complete Recreational Burn Requirements (PDF).

Residential Fire Requirements AND Residential Burn Permit

Within East Pierce Fire & Rescue’s jurisdiction, Residential Fires are allowed by permit in designated areas from October 1 – May 31. Per Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, Residential Fire permits are not issued to residents within any of the city limits, non-attainment areas, or urban growth boundaries in EPFR’s jurisdiction.

The following regulations must be followed:

    • Permit required.
    • Set back from structures at least fifty feet.
    • Limited to natural vegetation consisting of leaves, branches, prunings, and other yard and garden refuse. Grass clippings are NOT allowed.
    • Not to exceed four feet in diameter by three feet in height.
    • Fires shall not be ignited before 8:00 A.M. and must be completely extinguished by sunset.

Follow these steps to obtain a Residential Burn Permit.

  • Verify your property is in a designated burn area by using the searchable map above;
  • Type the current date, your name, and address on the permit;
  • Print the permit;
  • Sign the permit (not valid unless signed);
  • Keep the signed permit on the burn site while burning.

The burn permit link will only be available for download during the burn season and if no burn ban is in effect.

View complete Residential Burn Requirements (PDF).

Rather Than Burning, Consider These Alternatives:

HAUL IT! Rake up your excess material and haul it to your nearest Recycling/Transfer Station. Also, check your local waste disposal company for curbside yard waste recycling availability.

COMPOST IT! Composting yard and garden waste protects air, land, and water resources while providing a rich garden fertilizer.

CHIP IT! Some residents are choosing to chip their debris. Chippers may be rented or a chipping service hired to take care of your material. Wood chips make excellent mulch around trees and shrubs and can also be used to soften garden paths.

MULCH IT! By mulching, we can easily put nature’s recycling system to work in our own backyard. Spread yard and garden debris around shrubs, trees, and other plantings. Mulching keeps the soil loose and moist, smothers weeds, prevents soil loss, and releases nutrients as it decomposes.