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Outdoor burning in Vancouver

Burn Barrels and Garbage

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.

Recreational Fires

Yes. Recreational fires not wider than 3 feet or taller than 2 feet are allowed. Only firewood or charcoal may be used in a recreational fire. A permit is not required from the Vancouver Fire Marshal for a recreational fire.

Bonfires and Yard Debris

It is always illegal to burn: Branches, leaves, trimmed vegetation, lumber, stumps, paper, trash, plastics, rubber, chemicals, dead animals, structures, vehicles and more. Basically if it isn’t traditional cut firewood or charcoal then it is a violation to set fire to it.

Bonfires are prohibited. Exception: A permit may be obtained from the Fire Marshal to have an outdoor bonfire only for religious or ceremonial purposes when allowed by Southwest Washington Clean Air.

Visit the Southwest Clean Air Agency website, or call 360-574-3058 for more information.

Total Burn Bans

Occasionally a total burn ban is initiated by the Fire Marshal or by Southwest Washington Clean Air. During these times all outdoor fires are prohibited. These bans happen when the weather has become so dry that the vegetation has the potential to spread fire more rapidly than normal. Additionally, during times of air inversions smoke can become a threat to the health of many of our neighbors.


Consideration of neighbors will always be an important factor in choosing whether to have a recreational fire. The Vancouver Municipal Code and the Southwest clean Air Authority prohibit recreational fires becoming a nuisance. If wind or smoke drift conditions could make the smoke a nuisance to a neighbor then the fire is required to be extinguished immediately. If you aren’t sure, please knock on the neighbor’s door and ask them if your fire is a nuisance.