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Burn Ban Information

Outdoor Burning Regulations

Small recreational fires are allowed in the City of Tacoma when the following use conditions have been met and the smoke does not bother your neighbors. They are not allowed when there is a Tacoma Fire Department Fire Safety or Puget Sound Clean Air Agency burn ban in effect.


What about Barbecues?

Generally speaking, propane and natural gas barbecues can be used even when there is a burn ban, but not barbecues that use charcoal, wood, or any other solid fuel. 


What is a Recreational Fire?

A recreational fire meets all of the following:

  • The fire is not contained in an outdoor fireplace, barbecue grill or barbecue pit. Think "campfire style" fire. If the fire is contained, see portable fire devices with open flame below. 
  • The fire has a total fuel area of three feet or less in diameter and two feet or less in height.
  • The fire is for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes.
  • The fire is not on public property where fires are prohibited, such as in a park or on school grounds.

Note that fires in Metro Parks are only allowed where specifically authorized, where appropriate burning receptacles are provided and that only use propane or charcoal briquettes as fuel. All other fuel sources, including wood, are specifically prohibited.


Use Conditions for Recreational Fires
  • Only clean natural firewood, charcoal or manufactured fire logs are permissible fuels.
  • Fire extinguisher with a rating of 4-A or greater or a charged hose with a nozzle attached is required to be readily available.
  • 25-foot distance from any structure is required.
  • If the wind creates a hazard of fire spread, the fire shall be extinguished.
  • Vegetation or other combustible material creating a path for fire spread shall be removed prior to starting the fire.
  • Fire shall be attended by an adult at all times.

Portable Fire Devices with Open Flames

A non-combustible device such as a fire pit, fire bowl or chiminea that contains the fire.


Use Conditions for Portable Fire Devices and Open Flames
  • Only clean natural firewood, charcoal, manufactured fire logs or LPG are permissible fuels.
  • Fire extinguisher with a rating of 4-A or greater or a charged hose with a nozzle attached is required to be readily available.
  • 15-foot distance from any structure is required.
  • Fire shall be attended by an adult at all times.

Fuel Restrictions for Recreational Fires and Portable Fire Devices

  • Burning yard waste is illegal.
  • Burning garbage is illegal.
  • Burning cardboard or paper, except to start a fire, is illegal.
  • Burning building materials (i.e. scrap wood, paint, vinyl flooring, roofing, carpet etc.) is illegal.
  • Burning dead animals is illegal.
  • Burning of plastic, rubber, trash or other prohibited fuel may constitute an unauthorized release of hazardous material to the atmosphere.


  • All illegal or unattended fires shall be extinguished immediately.
  • Causing a nuisance is illegal. If the smoke from the fire bothers the neighbors, damages their property or otherwise causes a nuisance, the fire shall be extinguished. WAC 173-425-050.
  • Violation of a Burn Ban Order or burning illegal fuel is subject to a citation from the Tacoma Fire Department and Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

Permits Required

A Tacoma Fire Department Bonfire Permit is required for open fires with a fuel volume exceeding three feet in diameter and two feet in height with more restrictive conditions. There is a permit fee associated with this activity. Please complete the Bonfire Permit or call (253) 591-5740.

  • A permit is not required for ceremonial underground cooking fires.
  • A permit is not required for recreational fires as previously defined.

For more information about air quality burn bans, visit the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency website or call (800) 552-3565.

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Contact Information

Fire Prevention Division
3471 S. 35th St.
Tacoma, WA 98409

Phone: (253) 591-5740
Fax: (253) 594-7943

Business Hours

Monday - Friday
8 AM - 5 PM