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Alternatives To Outdoor Burning: Good For You And Our Wildlands

wacounties firedangerYou have an opportunity to curb fire risks, improve air quality, and make your neighbors’ lives easier. All by NOT striking a match. Residents who have yard waste to dispose of should look into clean alternatives to burning. Alternatives such as chipping and composting help keep our air clean and healthful. Those alternatives can also be used all summer, unlike burning. Because of wildfire and public safety concerns in our wooded counties, seasonal burn bans take effect each summer

One of the best alternatives to burning is composting.  Not only is composting free and easy to do, but it yields a great resource for your yard and garden.

Chipping woody materials and using the chips as ground cover also works well. Many commercial composting facilities and waste transfer stations around Western Washington accept yard waste for a modest fee.

Residents who do burn must remember the only material they may legally burn is natural vegetation gathered on site. State law prohibits the burning of garbage and home-repair debris. Burn barrels of any kind are also prohibited by state law.

Unregulated outdoor burning of any kind can contribute to poor air quality, but burning garbage and other debris is particularly problematic. Most household garbage contains a great deal of plastics, chemicals, coatings and chemically treated materials. When burned, this garbage and waste material releases toxic fumes and particles into the air. This pollution can cause disease ranging from eye and respiratory irritation to potential cancers.

For statewide Burn Ban information, visit