Burn Permit - Land Clearing

What is the purpose of this permit?
The purpose of this permit is to allow for burning of land clearing debris in a way that protects human health and the environment. The land clearing permit is for outdoor burning of trees, stumps, shrubbery, or other natural vegetation from projects that clear the land surface so it can be developed or left unused. Examples of land clearing include, but are not limited to:
  • Removing forest trees so a house can be built.
  • Tearing out an orchard or clearing rangeland to develop the property.
Who issues this permit?
Variable: See notes/comments for more information.
What activities require this permit?
To be eligible for a land-clearing permit, the use of the land must be changing. Common changes in use are:
  • Non-agricultural to agricultural;
  • Vacant to residential development; and
  • Vacant to commercial development.
Land clearing burning is not allowed:
  • Inside of urban growth areas (UGAs),
  • Within city limits of cities with a population of 10,000 or more,
  • Within an area having a general population density of 1,000 or more persons per square mile.
How much will this permit cost?
No fee required.
Where can I get the application for this permit?
The application is called 'Burn Permit Application: Land Clearing' is online and can be accessed at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/SummaryPages/ECY020124.html.
Do I need to include anything with my application?
See the permit application for details.
Is the decision on my permit dependent on anything besides the information in my application?
When making the decision on your permit, the permitting authority will consider the applicable laws and rules, the contents of your application, and the background environmental conditions.
How long will it take to review my application?
If Ecology issues the permit, they will act on a complete application in about one week and will send you either a permit or an explanation of why the application was denied. Incomplete applications will be returned. If a local clean air agency issues the permit, contact them for details.
Where do I submit my application?
If Ecology issues the permit, see the application for details. If a local clean air agency issues the permit, see their application for details.
View the schematic
How long is my permit valid?
Permits are valid January 1st to June 30th and July 1st to December 31st.
What is the appeal process for the permit?
You have a right to appeal the permit to the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) within 30 days of the date of receipt of the permit. The appeal process is governed by Chapter 43.21B RCW and Chapter 371-08 WAC. “Date of receipt” is defined in RCW 43.21B.001(2). Please contact the agency that issued your permit to discuss the decision on your permit.
Notes / Comments:
Who issues this permit? Department of Ecology and local clean air agencies issue this permit. Check the application form for the counties where Ecology issues the permit. If your county is not listed, then contact your local clean air agencies. Where Can I Get the Application for this Permit? If the local clean air agency issues the permit contact them for their application.
Legal Authority:
Permit Timeliness Results

Permit Timeliness data collection is in response to a State Auditor’s Performance Audit and RCW 43.42A. Each regulatory agency developed a plan to improve permit clarity, predictability, and timeliness. Each agency considers the customers experience to ensure permit assistance is simple to use, easy to access, and designed in a customer-friendly manner. Agencies report progress to the Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA). ORIA prepares and distributes reports, with participation from the State Auditor’s Office and Results Washington. See latest report here: https://www.oria.wa.gov/ORIA-2020-PermitTimelinessProgressReport.pdf.

All permits submitted for reporting were entered into this Regulatory Handbook. Here are the results of the performance data:

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Process a Permit Application (Definition)
Average number of days from Receipt to Complete: 1
Maximum number of days from Receipt to Complete: 6

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Issue a Permit Decision (Definition)
Average number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 1
Maximum number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 1

(Summary results based on 62 submittals in 2023)

Where can I get permitting assistance?
Web page URL: https://ecology.wa.gov/Air-Climate/Air-quality/Smoke-fire/Outdoor-residential-burning
Subject matter expert phone: Contact for Questions
Department of Ecology
Air Quality Program
300 Desmond Drive
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Telephone: (360) 407-6800
Fax: (360) 407-7534
Website: https://ecology.wa.gov/Regulations-Permits/Permits-certifications/Air-Quality-permits/Air-operating-permits
Triggering Questions:
  • Will you be clearing land for development or changing its use and burning the debris?
* Permit information last updated 1/10/2023