Benton Clean Air Agency

What About Burning ...

… on an orchard?

Burning on an orchard is considered agricultural burning and is subject to WAC 173-430. In order to burn you must have filed a Schedule F (Profit and Loss from Farming) form with the IRS. If you have not, you may not burn for agricultural purposes and may be cited for burning in your orchard.

The same laws that govern other types of agricultural burning also regulate burning on an orchard. There are, however, some differences relating to the reasons why a particular burn is being conducted. It is important that the orchardist is well informed prior to burning on orchard lands in order to lessen the chances for enforcement action.

There are three types of burning that can take place on an orchard, each with differing requirements.

  • Crop Rotation: Tree removal with intent to replace with different tree “crop”

Orchardists who plan to change crops by removing existing trees and replacing with another tree type or a different agricultural product, will need to apply for an Agricultural Burn Permit. Burning the “old” trees are subject to the conditions on the permit and burning is limited to agricultural “burn days”.

  • Crop Removal: Tree removal with intent to change land use, for example using the land for a housing development

In many cases, orchards are converted to some other land use, such as a housing development. Since the land will no longer be used for agricultural purposes the trees that are removed cannot be burned under an Agricultural Burning Permit. However, a Special Burn Permit can be used for this purpose. The Special Burn Permit carries a non-refundable $50 application fee plus an additional fee based upon the total volume of material to be burned (maximum $8.50 per cubic yard). A Special Burn Permit application can be downloaded (PDF).

  • Orchard prunings

A permit is not needed to burn tree prunings. Prunings can be burned at any time regardless of the agricultural “burn day”. However, care must be taken so that the smoke does not impact neighboring residents. By causing impact on residents, the fire may need to be extinguished and depending upon circumstances, possible BCAA enforcement action may apply.

... on a vineyard?

After much deliberation with the WSU Cooperative Extension and with several vinyardists, it was established that vineyard prunings do not fall into the same category as orchard prunings. As such, any burning on a vineyard requires an Agricultural Burning Permit and needs to follow the general agricultural burn rules.

... on a grass seed farm?

Most grass-seed field burning in Washington State has been ended by the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology). Ecology has officially certified alternatives to grass seed field burning that are practical and reasonably available. Ecology has also determined that mechanical residue management is a viable and reasonable available alternative in most cases. Only under limited specific situations may some burning of grass-seed fields take place. For more information contact the BCAA Inspector Rob Rodger , or go to the Department of Ecology Air Program.

... “flaming” or burning hop roots?

The BCAA and the Department of Ecology considers “flaming” and the burning of hop roots to be agricultural burning. As such, this type of burning requires an Agricultural Burning permit and need to follow the general agricultural burn rules.

... for non-agricultural purposes (land-clearing)?

An agricultural burn permit can only be used in circumstances that directly affect the propagation of field crops. An example would be the burning or wheat stubble, or the removal of an orchard to plant new fruit trees. However, if agricultural purposes will be ceased on a property and the land is to be cleared for another purpose, such as a housing development, an agricultural burning permit cannot be used for this purpose and a special burn permit is required. A Special Burn permit carries a non-refundable $50 application fee plus a negotiable $8.50 per cubic yard of to-be-burned material fee. An application for a Special Burn Permit can be downloaded (PDF).

Special Burn Permit Request