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Before You Burn

burning slashBefore You Burn

Understand the alternatives to burning, the health impacts and safety of burning is essential before considering any type of burning.

Health Impacts of Burning

Older adults, children, and those with heart/lung disease or respiratory infections are at higher risk of having health impacts from smoke inhalation.

Open burning creates air pollution in the form of smoke. Vapors and small airborne particles can be inhaled, making breathing difficult and leading to more serious short-term and chronic health problems. Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. The quantity and duration of smoke exposure, as well as a person's age and degree of susceptibility, play a role in determining whether or not someone will experience smoke-related health problems. Read more about the health effects of wood smoke

​Guidelines for efficient burning that prevents excessive smoke:

  • Make sure that all the firewood (yard debris) burned is as dry as possible. Seasoned wood and yard waste is best.

  • Cover firewood and yard waste to protect it from moisture in any form, including precipitation or dew. 

  • Loosely stack firewood to eliminate dirt, rocks and other noncombustible material and promote an adequate air supply to the burning pile.

  • Periodically re-stack or feed the burning pile to prevent smoldering fires. 

  • Never start a fire with lighter fluid or accelerants.

  • Heed city or county code for distance of fire pits to structures.

  • Be aware of local Fire District or city burn bans.

Every type of fire has different safety considerations. Always check with your local fire department before burning.​


Regional DEQ offices can assist you with permitting information and complaints about prohibited burns. ​​

All burning is subject to the requirements of your local jurisdiction including cities, counties and fire departments.​​