DNR burn restriction in effect
Effective Friday, April 30, 2021: The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has eased burn restrictions on DNR-protected lands in eastern Washington. This only applies to burning on DNR lands.
- Rule burns (burns without a written permit issued by DNR) are prohibited within Spokane County.
- Permit burns (written burn permits issued by DNR) are allowed within Spokane County.
- Campfires are only allowed in approved designated campgrounds.
Please review the requirements for various outdoor burning programs before you burn.
During the current COVID‐19 pandemic, please consider limiting or avoiding burning. Breathing smoke affects the respiratory system.
Give us a call.
Understanding burn restrictions
Air quality and fire protection agencies issue temporary burn restrictions for different purposes. We work together to communicate the current burn restrictions to residents.
Air quality-based restrictions
Our agency issues restrictions based solely on air quality. When fine particles of smoke are elevated and stable weather patterns are expected to persist, we may temporarily restrict the use of wood burning devices and outdoor burning until conditions improve. The goal is to improve air quality and keep fine particles within health-based air quality standards.
Fire danger-based restrictions
State and local fire protection agencies may restrict outdoor burning based on fire hazard conditions. These restrictions typically occur during summer and early fall, but can vary year to year based on conditions. We publicize their restrictions here, on our Burn Status Hotline 509-477-4710 and to those who subscribe to receive burn restrictions email notices.
Wood Heating & Outdoor Burning Restrictions
Temporary restrictions on the use of wood heating devices most often occur on cold, clear and calm days during winter.
A color-coded, 2-stage system is used to report Impaired Air Quality and restrict wood heating devices and outdoor burning:
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Green: Air pollution levels are low and dispersion is good. There are no restrictions on the proper use of wood heating devices (stoves, inserts and fireplaces) and outdoor burning.
Yellow/Stage 1 Impaired Air Quality: Air pollution levels are rising or are already high due to poor dispersion. Use of wood heating devices is restricted. Only EPA-certified devices (wood, pellet stoves and inserts) may be used. The restriction is typically for the Smoke Control Zone, but can be extended countywide if conditions dictate. ALL outdoor burning is restricted countywide under a Stage 1 & 2.
Red/Stage 2 Impaired Air Quality: Air pollution has risen to a level threatening to public health, and dispersion is poor and not expected to improve in the next 24 hours. Use of all wood heating devices is prohibited. The restriction is typically for the Smoke Control Zone, but can be extended countywide if conditions dictate. ALL outdoor burning is restricted countywide under a Stage 1 & 2.
Wood Heat Exemptions
If wood is your only source of heat, you may apply for a seasonal exemption, listed below. Please apply before the start of the heating season. To apply, print and complete the appropriate application and submit to Spokane Clean Air. You may also call us at 509-477-4727 to request a mailed application form. The exemptions are based on one or more or these situations:
- No Adequate Source of Heat: Residence originally constructed with wood heating device as primary source of heat.
- Income-Based: Income bracket qualifies for energy assistance.
- Primary Heat Source Temporarily Inoperable: Heat system is temporarily inoperable and being repaired.
If a burn restriction is in effect and you have not applied for an exemption, you may qualify for a one-time, 10-day temporary exemption. There is no fee for this temporary exemption but it is limited to one per property address, including rentals. It is designed to provide you with 10 consecutive days to apply for one of the three seasonal exemptions listed above.
To apply please call Spokane Clean Air at 509-477-4727 during office hours (Mon–Fri., 8 am – 4:30 pm) If it is outside of office hours (evenings/weekends) please still call the phone number and leave your name, phone number and address on the recording.
Whether you heat regularly with wood or just have a fire occasionally, be aware of the additional wood burning requirements.
Smoke Control Zone
Wood heating restrictions are typically issued for the Smoke Control Zone (map below), although they can be extended countywide if conditions dictate. If an air pollution episode is declared by the state, a restriction can extend throughout the region or state.
The Smoke Control Zone represents the more concentrated residential and commercial areas of the County, areas where air pollution levels are highest due to the density of homes and businesses and air flow patterns.
Outdoor burn restrictions apply countywide when Spokane Clean Air issues a Stage 1/Yellow or Stage 2/Red Impaired Air Quality burn restrictions.
The boundaries of the Smoke Control Zone are roughly:
City of Spokane
North to Owens Road
Spokane Valley to Idaho border
South to Gibbs Road
West to Hayford Road
If you live close to the boundary lines, call us at 509-477-4727 during normal business hours, and we can assist you by using a more detailed map.