Benton Clean Air Agency

Burning Detail Questions

... tumbleweeds blown on to my property?

Tumbleweeds that have been blown on to your property can be burned at any time, regardless of the burn day and regardless of whether you are inside or outside the Urban Growth Area (UGA). However, only the tumbleweeds can be burned, any other vegetative material to be burned is subject to the rules specific to your location.

... tumbleweeds that are growing on my property?

If the tumbleweeds are growing on your property, you cannot burn them in place.

If tumbleweeds are actually growing on your property, you must obtain a special burn permit in order to burn the tumblewweds in-place. Be aware that therer is a fee charged for a special burn permit. You may want to consider an alternative to burning such as mulching, mowing, or composting. However, you may also want to try to control the weeds before they become a problem by mowing or using a commercial herbicide. For more information you can download a flyer on tumbleweed burning here (PDF).

... in a woodstove, fireplace, or barbecue?

At the present time, in Benton County, there are no restrictions on when you can use your woodstove, barbecue, or fireplace. However, you must burn properly to minimize the impact of smoke on your neighbors.

... for recreation (campfire or bonfire)?

As of April 13, 2000, the definition and rules about recreational fires have changed. Recreational fire means [by definition] cooking fires, campfires, and bonfires using charcoal or firewood that occur in designated areas or on private property for cooking or pleasure purposes (WAC 173-425-030). Fires used for debris disposal are not considered recreational fires. For more information you can download a flyer on recreational fires here (PDF).

Inside the UGA: Recreational fires that are larger than three feet in diameter and two feet high require a permit. Permit conditions may limit the date and time burning is allowed. Recreational fires smaller than 3’x2’ are allowed at any time, regardless of the “burn day”, and do not require a permit.

Outside the UGA: Recreational fires are allowed at any time and do not require a permit.

... in a burn barrel?

As of April 13, 2000, the use of the traditional metal burn barrel is illegal throughout the State. This was done primarily to make the state rule consistent with the Uniform Fire Code.

If you feel that you must use a system similar to the burn barrel, waste disposal is still allowed in an outdoor burning device. This device must be constructed of concrete or masonry with a completely enclosed combustion chamber and a permanently attached iron spark arrester (max 1/2 inch holes). The device can only be used to dispose of natural vegetative debris. Paper, garbage, wood products, and other prohibited materials are illegal to burn.

... construction debris on my property?

The burning of construction debris is prohibited by state law, WAC 173-425-050(2), and by BCAA Regulation 1 Article 5 Section 5.02E. Because of the significant amount of prohibited materials found in construction fires of the past, BCAA Regulation 1 strictly prohibits any fire from occurring on a construction site. This includes the burning of vegetative debris and the burning of tumbleweeds. Burning illegally on a construction site will likely result in a violation and fine.

... on my small/hobby orchard?

Small hobby farms and small orchards are also subject to burning rules and regulations. If the farm or orchard sells what it produces and files a Schedule F with its income taxes, the farm is considered to be a commercial operation and is subject to the agricultural burning rules. All other farms and orchards are considered to be non-commercial. As with residential burning of yard waste, the location of the property is important.

Because outdoor burning have been substantially banned within the UGA, there are no “burn days” per se that farms and orchards may use for waste disposal. The only option available for farms and orchards within the UGA is to apply for a Special Burning Permit. Please contact us for information and details.

Outside the UGA, a farm or orchard can burn its dry, natural vegetation as long as there is a burn day. Burn day status is available by calling 946-4489. However, the farm cannot clear fields and steps must be taken to minimize the impact of the smoke on neighbors. Failure to comply with these additional restrictions could result in enforcement action.

If there are any questions concerning burning on hobby farms and orchards, please contact us.

... on a lot or area that is a fire hazard?

Brush and weeds on a piece of property can be considered a fire hazard. However, you will need to have your local fire department come to your property and declare it a fire hazard. In addition, the fire department must agree that burning the material would be the safest way to eliminate the hazard; in most cases alternatives, such as mowing, are equally effective. If the fire department determines that the fire hazard would be reduced by burning, then the BCAA will issue a permit to burn the material.