Burn Permits, Residential Burning and Recreational Fires

Current Burning Restrictions:

Please remember that while Pierce County has lifted their safety burn ban, our district still has burning restrictions in place. Residential yard debris burning is not allowed in our service area between June 16th and October 14th (this does not affect recreational fires). These dates are to coincide with the Department of Natural Resources. We do have some suggestions for alternatives to burning your yard waste which can be found in the FAQ section.

Burn Complaints:

If you suspect an illegal burn, call 9-1-1 to dispatch the fire department and let us investigate, educate and/or send on to Puget Sound Clean Air Agency for further action and code enforcement.

Allowable Burn Periods:

Effective as of May 26, 2020, burn periods have been updated to coincide with the Department of Natural Resources. The official announcement can be found by [clicking here]. 

Residential Yard Debris Burning will be allowed January 1 through June 15, and October 15 through December 31. This is different than a burn ban. Burn bans can still be imposed based on current conditions for air quality or safety reasons. This does not affect recreational fires. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

During daylight hours when there is not a burn ban or burning restrictions in place. Call 253-851-3111 for a burn permit and to find out if there is a burn ban.

Please be aware that residential yard debris burns are not allowed between June 16 thru October 14.  

Residential Burning: Strictly limited to yard and garden debris (natural vegetation only) that is generated on the property.  Recreational Fires: Limited to burning of dry, seasoned wood or charcoal briquettes ONLY.
 
It is always illegal to use a burn barrel.
 
It is always illegal to burn prohibited materials including:
  • Garbage or refuse
  • Cardboard and paper
  • Building materials (including paint, vinyl flooring, roofing, and scrap lumber)
  • Rubber products, including tires
  • Plastics or petroleum products
  • Material that produces smoke that is offensive or harmful to your neighbors.

It is always illegal to smoke out your neighbor.  The fire department may require your fire be extinguished if the smoke emissions are offensive to occupants of surrounding properties or if the fire is determined to constitute a hazardous condition.

NOTICE: The fire department is required to report infractions to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.  Non-compliance with these regulations can result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000 or more per day.  Please burn responsibly.

Recreational fires are permitted everywhere in Gig Harbor.  There is no permit required for this type of burn.

Recreational fires MUST adhere to the following guidelines:
  • Shall be constantly attended by a person of knowledge in using fire extinguishing equipment.
  • Limited to burning of dry, seasoned wood or charcoal briquettes ONLY.
  • Conducted in designated areas or on private property.
  • A fire conducted on a beach or off a bulkhead must be constructed at least 25 feet from any combustible structures.
  • Flammable liquids or accelerants cannot be used to start any recreational fire.
  • Fire extinguishing equipment such as buckets, shovels, or garden hoses shall be readily available.

Size and Construction of Pile:

  • Will not exceed 3 feet in diameter by 2 feet in height.
  • Must be 25 feet away from any structure, and 10 feet from any property lines, fences, or decks.
  • Must be in a metal or cement lined fire pit or purchased outdoor fireplace.
  • The bottom of the pit may be of sand or mineral earth.

NOTICE: The fire department is required to report infractions to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.  Non-compliance with these regulations can result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000 or more per day.  Please burn responsibly.

Residents who live outside of the non-attainment areas are allowed to burn their yard debris.  If you aren’t sure if you are the non-attainment area you can view the map below or contact our department at 253-851-3111.  Please be aware that burn permits are required and residential yard debris burns are not allowed between June 16 thru October 14.  

Rules to Burning Yard Waste:

  • It is the permittees responsibility to ensure there is no burn ban or burning restrictions in place prior to burning.
  • Permittee must be in attendance of the fire at all times.
  • Fires shall not be built under trees or utility lines.
  • Only dry, natural vegetation may be burned (limbs, sticks, branches, vines and small stumps).
  • Leaves, grass clippings, and garden waste should be composted to keep smoke to a minimum.
  • A garden hose, connected to a water supply, is required on site for all residential fires.  If a hose is unavailable, a shovel and 5 gallons of water must be available.

Residential fires must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Will not exceed 4 feet in diameter by 4 feet in height.
  • The pile shall be 50 feet away from any structure, and 10 feet from any property lines.
  • A 3 foot firebreak must be maintained around the burn pile.
  • The fire shall not be built under any trees or utility lines.

NOTICE:  The fire department is required to report infractions to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.  Non-compliance with these regulations can result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000 or more per day.  Please burn responsibly.

HAUL IT! Rake up your excess material and haul it to your nearest Recycling/Transfer station. Also, check with your local waste disposal company for curbside yard waste recycling availability.

COMPOST IT! Composting yard and garden waste protects the air, land and water resources while providing a rich garden fertilizer.

CHIP IT! Some residents are choosing to chip their debris. Chippers may be rented or a chipping service hired to take care of your material. Wood chips make excellent mulch around trees and shrubs and can also be used to soften garden paths.

MULCH IT! By mulching, we can easily put nature’s recycling system to work in our own backyard. Spread yard and garden debris around shrubs, trees, and other plantings, Mulching keeps the soil loose and moist, smothers weeds, prevents soil loss and releases nutrients as it decomposes.

Land-clearing burns are no longer allowed and you cannot obtain a permit for them. The largest fire you may have is 4’x4′.

Outdoor burning regulations are administered by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and follow the state Clean Air Act (Chapter 173-425 WAC). The fire district does not set these regulations, but must enforce them. Our responsibility begins with a permitting process for all outdoor burning.

Burn Permits

A Burn Permit is required for burning any yard debris. To obtain a permit, fill out the following form or call (253) 851-3111. There is no fee for burn permits and they are valid from the date of issue and expire on December 31 of each year.  Please note: Burn permits will not be issued between June 16 and October 14.

If you haven’t received your permit within 2-3 business days of your request we recommend checking your email junk/spam folder before checking the status.

Click the above image to view a PDF of the non-burn zone map.

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