Outdoor Burning Information
There is no outdoor burn ban in effect.
However, please consider alternatives to outdoor burning during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Washington State Department of Health, “All outdoor burning is discouraged at this time. Smoke from even a small fire can aggravate respiratory conditions and negatively impact people who are already suffering from the effects of COVID-19.” NKF&R does not have the authority to impose air quality or fire danger burn bans. For a more detailed explanation of burn bans, see below.
Check on the Status of Burn Bans
Bainbridge Island (206) 842-7686 | North Kitsap (360) 297-4888 | Central Kitsap (360) 447-3555 | South Kitsap (360) 871-2425
Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (800) 595-4341
What Can I Burn?
It is legal to burn only natural vegetation — items such as logs, leaves, brush trimmings, tree limbs. The burning of trash is prohibited, and hasn’t been allowed for many years. Illegal materials include: paper products such as newspaper or cardboard, plastics, painted or treated wood, pallets, furniture, construction debris, gasoline or oil, etc. Burn barrels are also illegal.
Where Can I Burn?
Within the Kingston urban growth area (2016 boundaries), no outdoor burning is allowed with the exception of recreational fires (see definition below). Outside the UGA, outdoor fires must be a minimum of ten times the diameter of the burn pile (to a maximum of 50 feet) away from any structures, including fences. The fire must be attended at all times, and a means of extinguishment—bucket of water, shovel, garden hose, etc.—must be readily available.
Do I Need a Burning Permit?
Recreational Fires — Permissible throughout NKF&R’s service area. Fire must be in designated area, no larger than 3’x3’x2′ and composed of charcoal or dry firewood only. No permit is required.
Small Residential Fires — Permissible only outside the Kingston UGA. Fire must be no larger than 4’x4’x3′, and composed of natural vegetation. There is no fee for the permit, and it is valid until the end of each calendar year.
Large Residential Fires — Permissible only outside the Kingston UGA. Fire must be no larger than 10’x10’x7′, and composed of natural vegetation. There is no fee for the permit, and it is valid for two weeks.
Land-Clearing Fires — In 2009, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency permanently outlawed land-clearing fires in Kitsap County.
How Can I Get a Burning Permit?
Free permits for outdoor fires in areas served by NKF&R are available online through Community Connect. If you have additional questions, call us at (360)297-3619.
What is a Burning Complaint?
Even when natural vegetation is being burned, the smoke and odors can be a nuisance to neighbors. Often, citizens call to complain. We are required by law to investigate every complaint, even when the fire in question has a legal burning permit. If the fire is illegal or producing unreasonable amounts of smoke, our crews may extinguish the burn. If violations are flagrant, we may refer the case to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency for enforcement and fines. To avoid becoming the subject of a burning complaint, follow the rules and try to be considerate. Talk to your neighbors in advance. Less smoke is produced by “hot” fires, and the best way to ensure a “hot” fire is by burning material that’s as dry as possible. Fans can also be used to increase the fire’s temperature.
Will it Always Be Legal to Burn Outdoors?
Outdoor burning was permanently prohibited in Kitsap County’s urban growth areas (including Kingston) beginning in 2001. Land-clearing fires were permanently banned in 2009. According to the authority implementing this permanent ban (the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency), outdoor burning in additional areas will likely be banned in the future.
Temporary Burn Bans
— The most common form of burning ban is driven by a concern for fire danger. During summers (generally) when the moisture in vegetation drops to dangerously low levels, the Kitsap County Fire Marshal coordinates with local fire agencies and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to implement an outdoor burning ban. Under a Phase I ban, all burning permits are suspended and all outdoor burning — with the exception of recreational fires (see above) – is prohibited. Under a Phase II ban, all burning permits are suspended and all outdoor burning (including recreational fires) is prohibited. Exempted from a Phase II ban are cooking fires fueled with charcoal, natural gas, propane or camp stove fuels. Once either type of ban is imposed, it usually remains in place until significant and sustained rainfall decreases fire danger.
Air Quality Burn Bans
— The other form of burning ban is most common during the winter months when air stagnation becomes a problem. These bans are implemented by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency when smog levels are dangerously high. During these types of bans, no outdoor burning is allowed. Use of uncertified fireplaces and woodstoves is also prohibited unless the devices provide a home’s only source of heat.