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Outdoor Burning Categories

Recreational Fires

A recreational fire (campfire, cooking fire or warming fire) is a small, occasional (less than four per month) fire, which is no larger than three feet in diameter and two feet high, burning only dry, cut firewood. Recreational fires are allowed year-round throughout the county under low fire danger level, except if prohibited by city code. Under moderate or high fire danger levels, recreational fires and campfires may have additional conditions imposed. During high and extreme fire danger levels, no recreational fires and campfires are allowed. This authority can be withdrawn by the fire district, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) or Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for burning prohibited materials or if smoke becomes a hazard to public safety.

If property is located within ODF boundaries, recreational fires are prohibited without a special burn permit during the ODF declared fire season (typically July through October, unless a season ending rain event in the fall occurs earlier).

Recreational fires are not for disposal purposes or to be used in order to burn prohibited materials, such as plastic, rubber or garbage. For fire safety reasons, recreational fires shall be 25 feet from any structure or combustible material, or only 15 feet if contained in a non-combustible fire pit less than four feet in diameter and a minimum of 12 inches high.

Backyard Burning

(Backyard Burn Season: March 1 – June 15 and October 1 – December 15)

Backyard burning is the burning of organic yard debris on the property of origin, on approved burn days, during approved burn hours, as indicated by the daily burn message at: 503.632.0211. Backyard burning is only allowed on property located outside of the DEQ Burn Ban Area (Open Burning Control Area) and is not recommended in compact housing developments. Backyard burning may occur under Clackamas Fire authority of a public “Open Permit.” This authority can be withdrawn by Clackamas Fire or DEQ for unlawful burning, such as burning prohibited materials, fire safety violations or burning on non-approved days. A City of Happy Valley Burn Permit is also required for residents within the City of Happy Valley city limits with more than ONE acre of land (click HERE for information.)

Backyard burning materials must be dried, to the extent practicable, loosely stacked, (to provide adequate air supply) and periodically re-stacked to ensure good combustion, therefore avoiding smoldering fires. If the smoke or odor emission affects others, the fire must be extinguished. Materials prohibited from burning include, but are not limited to, garbage, plastic, rubber, petroleum treated materials and any other material that creates dense smoke and noxious odors.

Backyard burn piles can be no larger than 10’x10’x10’ and must be a minimum of 50 feet from a structure or other combustible materials. A maximum of two burn piles may be burned at any one time, if space allows. All backyard burning fires must be extinguished by the fires out time, which means no flames or smoke at the end of the established burn hours.

Special Burn Permits

Special burn permits are required for all outdoor fires larger than 10’x10’x10’, bonfires, in-ground cooking fires, and fires that require continuous burning beyond the established burn hours. Special burn permits are also required for agricultural burning inside the DEQ prohibited burn areas and burning “out of season.” Slash burning within ODF’s protection boundary requires a permit only from ODF. Contact ODF at 503.829.2216 for slash burning information.

Special burn permits out of the burn seasons are primarily for agricultural purposes and are limited to burning agricultural waste at legitimate agricultural operations as defined by state law. The property must also meet Clackamas County Zoning requirements for agricultural/forestry operations. Fire safety and smoke restrictions apply to all special burn permits, thus burns shall be conducted to minimize odor emissions and smoke that might impact others. Special burn permit fees may apply. All special burn permits require 10 days advanced notice and if issued, are valid for a maximum of 15 days with the possibility of a 15 day extension.

The Daily Burn Message is not for special burn permits out of the open burning seasons. The Department of Agriculture’s burn line: 503.986.4755 will be used and “not recommended,” means no burning, with the single exception of a special burn permit specifically allowing burning on those days. For slash burning permits issued by ODF, you must call: 503.829.2216 for daily burn information.