City of Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, Washington, Whidbey Island's Premier Waterfront Community

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865 SE Barrington Drive
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Phone: 360-279-4500
Fax: 360-279-4507

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Outdoor Burning

Download a 1-page information sheet about the laws governing City of Oak Harbor recreation fires.

Information about current Island County Burn Bans and burning in areas outside of the City of Oak Harbor is available on the Island County website:

Outdoor Burning FAQs

I suspect that someone is burning illegally, how do I make a complaint?

There is a permanent burn ban within the City of Oak Harbor and its Urban Growth Areas*. This means that residential burning of yard, garden and land clearing debris is illegal; however small recreational fires in approved fire pits are allowed as long as they do not negatively impact neighboring properties. 

If you suspect that someone is burning illegally, you can call the non-emergency dispatch number: 679-9567.
CONTACT 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY if there is EXCESSIVE SMOKE or you suspect the fire may be out of control.

What are the current burn regulations? 

Washington State law permanently banned land-clearing and residential burning within the City of Oak Harbor and its Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) as of January 1, 2001. To view a map of the Oak Harbor area and UGAs, please visit:
Some residential burning is allowed in Island County:
  • Burn Ban Information: (360) 428-1617 ext. 4 or (360) 679-7350
  • Recreational, Residential & Land-Clearing Information: (360) 679-7350
  • For local outdoor burning regulations and information view the Northwest Clean Air Agency website:

Did you know....

  • Burning Garbage has been illegal in Washington since 1967.
  • You may be charged a fee if your fire department is called out to your fire due to illegal burning.
  • Where burning is allowed, written permits are required for all fires over 4 feet in diameter. Verbal permits are required for fires less than 4 feet in diameter. Call (360) 679-7350 for a verbal permit.
  • The Fire Warden must inspect all land-clearing burn piles prior to burning (permit required).
  • The Washington State Department on Ecology has published a very informative website (including a list of frequently asked questions about outdoor burning:


I live in Oak Harbor, Can I have a fire in my backyard?

Yes and No. Recreational fires are allowed; but land-clearing fires are not allowed (includes burning of yard debris). For yard debris pick up, please contact City of Oak Harbor Public Works or see this list of alternatives to burning yard debris by the Northest Clean Air Agency.

Within the city limits of Oak Harbor, and it’s Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) recreational fires three (3) feet in diameter or smaller are allowed and do not require a permit if all the following conditions are met. 

  • Recreational fires consist only of charcoal or firewood and are used for cooking or pleasure.
  • The fire is in an enclosure no larger than 3 feet across. The enclosure must be a minimum of 16 inches high and made of cement block, stones or #10 gauge steel.
  • Materials being burned must be kept lower than the sidewalls of the enclosure.
  • A charged garden hose or 2 five-gallon buckets of water must be on site.
  • A shovel or rake must be on site.
  • The fire must be 25 feet from any standing timber.
  • Tree branches must be cleared to the height of 15 feet above the enclosure.
  • One person age 16 or older who is capable of putting the fire out must be in attendance at all times.
  • The fire must be contained within a firebreak (bare ground).
  • The landowner’s permission must be obtained if not on your property.
  • The smoke from your fire must not negatively affect your neighbors. If the fire department is called, you will be asked to put your fire out.
  • Prior to burning, check Island County’s Burn Ban status by calling the Northwest Clean Air Agencies Fire hotline: (360) 428-1617, ext 4 or see


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