How are burn restrictions determined?

Air quality-based restrictions: When fine particles of smoke are on the rise and stagnant weather conditions prevail, Spokane Clean Air can restrict the use of wood burning devices and outdoor burning. This strategy is to keep fine particles from exceeding the federal, health-based air quality standards. Consider subscribing to receive an email alert when burn bans are issued and rescinded. 

Fire hazard based restrictions: In addition to "air quality burn bans," local and state fire officials may also restrict outdoor burning based on fire hazard conditions, which occur typically during the summer and early fall months. These restrictions will be posted on our "Burn Ban Status" page.

Wood heating restrictions:

Wood heating restriction stop light

A color-coded system is used to report wood burning conditions:

Green: Air pollution levels are low and dispersion is good. There are no restrictions on the proper use of wood burning stoves, inserts and fireplaces. 

Yellow: This is a Stage 1 burn ban. Air pollution levels are rising or are already high due to poor dispersion. Use of wood burning 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 banned countywide under a Stage 1 and 2.

 This is a Stage 2 burn ban. Air pollution has risen to a level threatening to public health, dispersion is poor and is not expected to improve in the next 24 hours. Use of all wood burning devices is prohibited. The ban is typically for the Smoke Control Zone, but can be extended countywide if conditions dictate. All outdoor burning is banned countywide under Stage 1 and 2, this includes chimneas, outdoor fireplaces, fire bowls, fire pits, wood chip electric smokers, wood/charcoal/pellet grills, and similar devices.

Exemption to burn during a Burn Ban:

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. The 2021-22 application will be available mid-summer. You may also call 477-4727 to request a mailed application form. There exemptions based on three situations:

If a burn ban is currently in effect and you have not applied for an exemption, you may qualify for a One-Time, 10-Day Temporary Solid Fuel Burning Device 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 477-4727, during office hours (Mon–Fri., 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m) 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.

Additional requirements related to wood heating - Click here to review additional information about wood heating.

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, the ban can extend throughout Eastern Washington.

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 bans apply countywide when Spokane Clean Air issues a Stage 1 or Stage 2 Impaired Air Quality burn ban.

Smoke control zone mapThe 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

Click on the map for a larger image.

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.