We are increasing enforcement of burn bans in the Tacoma-Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone. Wood burning during a ban may result in fines up to $1,000.
Know the difference in stages
Stage 1 Burn BanIn Effect
Use of fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves and inserts prohibited. Pellet stoves, EPA certified wood stoves and inserts are allowed. Outdoor burning prohibited.
- Uncertified Wood Stoves
- Uncertified Wood Inserts
- Outdoor Burning
- Certified Wood Stoves
- Certified Wood Inserts
- Pellet Stoves & Inserts
Stage 2 Burn BanIn Effect
All wood burning prohibited, including pellet stoves. Outdoor burning prohibited.
Not sure if your wood stove or fireplace insert is certified?
It's always illegal to smoke out your neighbor.
- Report Online
- By calling 1-800-552-3565 option 6
FAQs on Burn Bans
What if my wood stove is the only heat in my home?
Is an air quality burn ban different than one used to prevent wildfires?
There are two kinds of burn bans that affect our region. Air quality burn bans restrict indoor and outdoor burning to prevent unhealthy levels of pollution. These are usually called in cooler months when people use their wood stoves. Fire safety bans are usually called in warmer months and restrict only outdoor burning and are called by the Fire Department to prevent wildfires.
How are burn bans determined?
Scientific forecasts and analysis of real-time data from air monitoring sites help determine when an air quality burn ban is necessary. From there, notifications are sent to local news outlets and alerts are sent through email and other methods to make the public aware. Sign up now for these alerts to find out when burn bans are called.
For more information about burn bans, click here.
How are burn bans enforced?
Burn ban enforcement staff patrol the Tacoma-Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone during daytime and nighttime hours. They look for visible smoke, as an indication of possible illegal burning, and will collect photo documentation. Puget Sound Clean Air Agency staff also look for chimney smoke that exceeds 20% opacity. Even when burning is allowed, it is never legal to produce thick, heavy smoke for more than six minutes outside of your fire start-up time.
Staff from local partner agencies are assisting with enforcement, but all violations will be issued by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. Questions? Call 1-800-552-3565.
What part does the weather play in burn bans?
During typical weather in our region, the air closest to the ground is warmer than the air above us. Pollutants rise higher into the atmosphere, and are more diluted.
During an "inversion," this flip-flops. Warm air traps colder air closer to the ground, trapping pollutants with it. As time goes on during an inversion and people carry on with their everyday lives, pollution levels become more and more unhealthy. People sensitive to air quality changes tend to experience significant compromises to their health, especially children and the elderly.