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Outdoor Burning Information
Different Types of Burn Bans
Burn bans may be issued by the County Fire Marshal for fire safety reasons, by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to protect air quality, and by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to help reduce the risk of wildfires.
The Snohomish County Fire Marshal is responsible for all fire safety burn bans in unincorporated Snohomish County. These are usually issued in response to hot and/or dry conditions.
Due to recent rains and anticipated cooler weather conditions, the burn ban has been lifted for all of the unincorporated areas of Snohomish County effective Tuesday, October 25, 2022. View the press release for more information.
This means that those individuals who have a current residential burn permit for yard debris will now be allowed to burn. The burn pile must not exceed 4’ x 4’ x 3’. Recreational fires are allowed in approved fire pits without a burn permit. However, the fire pit must be constructed of a noncombustible material such as concrete or metal and shall be a minimum of 25 feet from structures. A recreational fire by definition is a cooking fire or campfire using charcoal or firewood. These fires may not be greater than three feet in diameter and/or two feet in height. Water must also be immediately available.
As always, the burning of garbage, household trash, lumber, building construction waste, or demolition debris is prohibited.
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) issues air quality burn bans in response to poor air quality. Air quality burn bans are usually issued during colder fall and winter months due to calm wind conditions. They can be issued outside of the Snohomish County fire safety burn bans. For more information please see the PSCAA burn ban page.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) uses burn restrictions as a tool to reduce human-caused wildfires during extremely hot and dry weather conditions. When a burn restriction is in place, it prohibits outdoor fires on all state, county, city, and private land under DNR fire protection, including all state forests, DNR-managed forestlands and DNR campgrounds. For more information on DNR burn bans, see the DNR wildfire prevention website for more information. On this website, you can track daily burn restrictions in each Washington county.
Call Before You Burn
Prior to any burning, we suggest you contact our Burning Information Line at 425-388-3508 to verify that there are no Burn Bans or Burning Limitations that may have been placed due to high fire danger or air quality conditions. For additional air quality information you can contact Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
Land Clearing Burning Prohibited
Since 2008, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has maintained a permanent ban on land clearing burning in land-clearing burning Snohomish, Kitsap, King, and Pierce counties in accordance with WAC 173-425-040(5). Land clearing burning applied to fires to clear land for development, such as building a new structure or subdivision.
Residential burning, a burn pile no larger than 4 feet by 4 feet by 3 feet, requires a permit under our burn permit ordinance (PDF). Residential burning means the outdoor burning of leaves, clippings, prunings, and other yard and gardening refuse originating on lands immediately adjacent and in close proximity to a human dwelling and burned on such lands by the property owner or his or her designee.
Recreational fires, no larger than 3 feet by 3 feet by 2 feet in size, do not require a permit. By definition recreational fires are cooking fires, and campfires using charcoal or firewood that occur in designated areas or on private property for cooking, pleasure, or ceremonial purposes. Fires used for debris disposal purposes are not considered recreational fires.
Burn Permits are required and issued by the Office of the Snohomish County Fire Marshal and participating local fire districts for residential burning. Permits will be issued for locations outside the Urban Growth Areas (UGA) that are outside of the established no-burn zones (PDF) and within fire protection districts of unincorporated Snohomish County.
Snohomish County Burn Permits
An instructional guide (PDF) has been prepared to detail the requirements of the residential burn permit application and to provide a list of general conditions typically attached to each permit. If you have questions, please call 425-388-3557.
To apply for a new residential burn permit, go to www.mybuildingpermit.com (MBP) and choose jurisdiction, Snohomish County. Then choose Fire, Single Family Residential, New, Open Burn Permit. Please allow 5 days for processing. You will receive an invoice for $30.90 after staff reviews the application. Upon payment, Snohomish County PDS will issue the permit which will be valid for one year. The permit may be renewed annually for $15.45. The renewal must be applied for prior to the expiration date of the permit. When applying for the permit renewal, choose "Renew" instead of "New" at MBP.
Fire Districts Burn Permits
The following fire districts have entered into an inter-local agreement with Snohomish County to issue permits on behalf of the county and will regulate burning and burn permits within their districts:
- Snohomish County Fire District 4
- Snohomish Regional Fire and Rescue (merged Fire Districts 7 & 8)
- Marysville Fire District 12
- Tulalip Bay Fire Dept./Snohomish County Fire District 15
- North County Regional Fire Authority
- Snohomish County Fire District 21
- Snohomish County Fire District 22
- Oso Fire Dept./Snohomish County Fire District 25
- Snohomish County Fire District 26
- Snohomish County Fire District 27 (Hat Island)
- South Snohomish County Fire and Rescue (SSCFR) does NOT allow yard debris burning or issue burn permits; only recreational fires are allowed.
- Sultan Fire District 5 does not allow yard debris burning inside city limits or within the UGA or MUGA.
If you live within the jurisdictional boundaries of one of these districts, it will be necessary to contact them directly to obtain a burn permit. If you would like to locate or verify the boundaries of a particular fire district you can:
- Use the PDS Map Portal. Instructions on how to locate fire district boundaries can be found here: fire district boundary instructions (PDF).
- View a list of county fire districts contact information and city fire departments contact information (PDF).
- Contact the Office of the Snohomish County Fire Marshal at 425-388-3557 and we will be happy to assist you.
As more people move to remote areas wildfires (PDF) have become increasingly common as that creates an environment where fire can move readily between structures and vegetation. Emergency response can be difficult in these isolated and undeveloped areas. There is no guarantee that firefighters will be able to save your home if a wildfire occurs so it is imperative that property owners in the Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI) understand the risks and prepare appropriately. For more information contact your local fire department.