Toutle Fire and Rescue - Cowlitz County Fire District 3

Outdoor Burning Information

Outdoor burning image
Southwest Clean Air Agency

Outdoor Burning Information
(800) 633-0709

Before burning, please make sure you review and print your permit from SW Clean Air Agency, and please always call before you burn to be sure the current conditions allow for burning. Call SW Clean Air Agency (SWCAA) (1-800-633-0709).

Outdoor burning is usually allowed from October 1st through July 14th. Burning is not permitted from July 15th through September 30th each year. Burn barrels and burning trash is illegal and prohibited at all times.

Outdoor burning is allowed for household yard waste and natural vegetation, such as leaves, grass, brush and other yard trimmings. If your pile is greater than 10' x 10', you must contact SWCAA and apply for an additional burn permit.

Please always be cautious and remember to call before you burn.

Washington Administrative Code

WAC 173-425 bans the use of a burn barrel and prohibits the burning of all material, except natural vegetation grown on the property and firewood (defined as bare untreated wood, not dimensional lumber). This regulation also prohibits burning during periods of impaired air quality and prohibits outdoor burning from becoming a nuisance to surrounding neighbors and businesses. Fire safety burn-bans may also be called by county or local fire protection authorities.

Burn Barrel Use Prohibited

The use of a burn barrel was banned in the State of Washington effective April 13, 2000. Burning garbage has been illegal in the State of Washington since 1967.

Areas Where Burning Is Not Allowed

WAC 173-425-040(3)(4)(5) prohibits outdoor burning in cities with a population of greater then 10,000, adjacent areas with a population density of one thousand or more persons per square mile, and areas with a reasonable alternative to burning.

Fires under 3'x3'x2', using charcoal or seasoned firewood (not lumber), are still allowed in all of Cowlitz County without a permit. Urban recreational fires in excess of 3'x3'x2' need a written permit. Non-urban areas of the county may have a recreational fire up to 4'x4'x3' without a permit.

Single piles under 4'x4'x3' in non-urban areas outside the Longview/Kelso No-Burn Boundary do not need a permit during daylight hours and other restrictions apply. For a list of general rule burn requirements, or obtain a residential burn permit, contact Southwest Clean Air Agency. Requirements vary with local ordinances. Check with your local fire department or town hall.

Piles larger than 4'x4'x3' but smaller then 10'x10'x6' outside the Longview/Kelso No-Burn Area need a written permit. These permits can usually be picked up at a local fire department and are generally free. If your area does not provide these permits you can contact Southwest Clean Air Agency.

For piles larger than 10'x10'x6' and land clearing operations you need to contact Southwest Clean Air Agency to request an appointment for a land clearing burning permit. Depending on the time of year it can take up to a week to schedule the site inspection so please make your appointment in advance. There is a $100.00 permit fee.

To qualify for agricultural burning inside the no-burn boundaries you must have filed a "Schedule F" with your federal income tax. Orchard prunings alone do not qualify for an agriculural burn and other restrictions apply WAC 173-430. Contact Southwest Clean Air Agency for detailed information, forms and possible fees.

Composing, Chipping and Recycling are viable alternatives to outdoor burning that create a resource instead of air pollution and solid waste products.

Composting is an easy and inexpensive way to turn yard and garden refuse into a usable and valuable product. Compost turns organic matter like leaves, grass, weeds, and wood chips, into a rich soil conditioner.

Chipping brush, prunings, land-clearing debris and wood waste makes an excellent mulch or substitute for decorative bark. Chips can protect soil and help keep weeds at bay. They can also be used to line garden paths and trails or provide a softer landing under playground equipment.

Recycling/Reuse Many options are available in our area for wood and building scraps, pallets, cardboard and other paper products, and even some types of plastic. Contact the Department of Solid Waste/Recycling (360) 577-3361 or the State Recycling Hotline at (800) 732-9253 for options in your area.

Transfer Station / Landfill The Cowlitz County landfill will accept organic waste for a reasonable fee. Call (360) 577-3126 for more information.