It is important to the Bainbridge Island Fire Department and our community that everyone understands the laws regulating burning.
In January of 2001, Bainbridge Island amended City Ordinances to comply with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act was imposed to reduce contaminates in the air that are produced from burning. These contaminates can cause severe respiratory distress for people with heart or lung problems. The burn ban, under Washington State Law, makes all outdoor burning on Bainbridge Island illegal, with minor exceptions. These exceptions include: recreational/cooking fires, permitted ceremonial fires and permitted agricultural fires.
A recreational fire can easily be described as a fire for the purpose of cooking or when camping. The fuel for this type of fire must be either standard cut, untreated firewood or charcoal briquettes. The size of a recreational fire is limited to no larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height. Under no circumstances can this type of fire be used to dispose of residential yard vegetation, waste or garbage. In addition, the fire must be located at least 25 feet from any structure and any combustible materials that could cause the fire to spread within 25 feet of a structure. A campfire on the beach would fall under this classification.
A ceremonial fire is a special purpose bonfire or cooking fire larger than "recreational fire". This type of fire requires a permit issued by the fire department. Ceremonial fires cannot be used to burn yard vegetation, waste or garbage, and must be located at least 50 feet from any structure.
Agricultural burning means outdoor burning related to commercial agricultural activities under Chapter 173-430WAC, including, but not limited to, any incidental agricultural burning or agricultural burning for pest or disease control. Permits must be issued by the Fire Marshal's Office, and fires are subject to safety inspections.
Another type of burn ban is implemented by the fire departments throughout Kitsap County. This is generally done for safety reasons caused by dry weather conditions. During these bans, all burning on Bainbridge Island, including recreational fires, ceremonial fires and agricultural fires, is prohibited.
In addition to improving air quality on Bainbridge Island, the burn ban helps to reduce the possibility of accidental wildfires. Open burning can be a prime cause of wildfires.