Outdoor Burning Background

Burn barrels are illegal ... they were banned in Washington state April of 2000.

Federal Clean Air Act

Under the provisions of the 1990 Federal Clean Air Act (FCAA) the southern portion of Clark County was designated a non-attainment area for carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone (O3). This required a ban on outdoor burning within the non-attainment area and new restrictions on auto emissions and industrial pollutants. The area has since achieved attainment status and was designated a CO/O3 maintenance area. However, the restrictions remained in place to assure continuing attainment with the FCAA.

Updates to Outdoor Burning Laws

With the revision of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 173-425 in 2000, Washington's outdoor burning rules were revised. As of December 31, 2000 outdoor burning was prohibited in cities with a population of greater than 10,000 and their Urban Growth Areas (UGA). Prohibitions also apply in adjacent areas with a population density of one thousand or more persons per square mile and areas with a reasonable alternative to burning. As of January 1, 2007 all urban growth areas in the state of Washington are permanent no burn areas.

The above rules affect Clark, Cowlitz and Lewis Counties as follows:

  • Clark County - The southern Clark County no burn area was expanded to include portions of the Vancouver, Camas and Washougal Urban Growth Areas that extend beyond the original non-attainment area. The Battle Ground no burn area was created within the boundaries of its urban growth area.
    As of January 1, 2012 the urban growth areas of Ridgefield, Yacolt and La Center are also permanent no burn areas.
  • Cowlitz County - The Longview/Kelso area currently meets the above requirements of WAC 173-425. The Longview/Kelso expanded no burn boundaries were created, effective May 1, 2002, and burning has been permanently banned within the city limits and surrounding areas.
    On January 1, 2007 the urban growth areas of Woodland and Castle Rock also became permanent no burn areas.
  • Lewis County - Centralia, Chehalis and their surrounding urban growth areas meet the first of the above criteria and are therefore designated permanent no burn areas.
    On January 1, 2007 the urban growth areas of Napavine, Pe Ell, Winlock, Vader, Toledo, and Mossyrock became permanent no burn areas.

Skamania and Wahkiakum Counties: Currently, cities/population densities in these counties do not meet any of the above criteria and therefore they are not currently designated as permanent no burn areas.