News Flash

Fire Marshal

Posted on: September 27, 2018

Residential and Commercial Burn Permits Open October 1

Burn season is right around the corner and the San Juan County Fire Marshal’s Office and the San Juan County Fire Chiefs Association would like to remind you of a few things to improve the safety of your burning this season.

Burning rules apply to all burns in San Juan County and a permit is required for all Residential and Commercial burns.

Residential burning is defined as a permitted burn pile that is a maximum of 10’ is size. These permits are to be issued to residents in San Juan County. Residential burn permits are appropriate for the burning of yard waste and debris from trees and shrubs, pruning, and post storm clean up. A residential permit is not appropriate for land clearing operations where multiple stumps will be burned, regardless of pile size. Residential burning requires a charged hose to be on site with a shovel and someone to be present for the duration of the burn until it is dead out. There is no residential burning allowed in Urban Growth Areas of San Juan County. Residential permits may be purchased online or in person at the San Juan County Department of Community Development office, or at the main fire stations on Orcas, Lopez, San Juan, and Shaw.

Commercial burning is defined as burning outside of the Urban Growth Area and Commercial permits are issued for piles larger than 10 feet in size, where contractors are supervising burning with machinery on site. Types of work that Commercial permits are appropriate for include land clearing and timber harvest waste. Commercial burns require an inspection on site by the San Juan County Fire Marshal or their designee and are not available for purchase online. They can be applied for in person at the Lopez, Shaw, and Orcas Fire stations. All Commercial permits for San Juan Island will be issued at the Department of Community Development on Rhone Street. San Juan Fire will no longer issue Commercial permits, but will continue to issue Residential permits.

Commercial Permit processing may take up to 7 business days.

It is worth noting that land clearing operations may be subject to other permits by the Washington Department of Natural Resources and it the landowner’s responsibility to make sure the work being done is not subject to this requirement.

Campfires are defined as two foot by two foot fires do not need a permit. Campfires are for the burning of firewood and not intended for yard waste disposal.

All permits issued for burning by San Juan County are for natural vegetation. The burning of treated or processed wood material including construction scraps and demolition scraps are prohibited. Other prohibited materials include: garbage, dead animals, asphalt, petroleum products, paints, rubber, plastics and paper, other than the small amount of paper necessary to start a fire. Burning of prohibited materials is illegal and subject to fines from the Fire Marshal’s Office and the Washington Department of Ecology.

If you have other questions about burning please see the San Juan County Fire Marshal’s Website, The Washington Department of Natural Resources Website, or email

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