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The City of Portland, Oregon

Fire & Rescue

Always Ready, Always There

Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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Outdoor Burning & Recreational Fire - Know the Regulations


Sometimes there is nothing more relaxing than sitting around a small campfire on a summer evening. However, because it does pose a fire danger, it is important to be safe while having recreational fires.

Portland Fire and Rescue (PF&R) has received many questions from citizens on what constitutes a safe fire and what is and isn’t legal when dealing with recreational fires. It is important to know these requirements so outdoor burning can remain safe and enjoyable.

There are a few types of outdoor burning that is legal within Portland city limits. This includes cooking with standard barbecue equipment, ceremonial fires for large gatherings or institutions (with a permit from the Fire Marshal) and recreational fires. This is defined as burning clean, dry, cord type firewood as in a standard campfire setting. The fire must be less than 3 feet in diameter with pile less than 2 feet in height. These recreational files shall be no closer than 25 feet from a structure, this includes decks. In addition, a responsible person should be in attendance at all times with a garden hose with nozzle that is turned on and ready to go – this can serve as the best fire extinguisher!

Improper use of outdoor burning equipment does cause a significant amount of fires each summer. With this in mind, PF&R reminds you to please be safe while enjoying these fires.

Click here to learn more about agricultural open burning, ceremonial burning, domestic open burning, and recreational burning. If you have further questions, feel free to contact Portland Fire & Rescue at (503) 823-3700.

Blog courtesy of Jessica Budge, one of PF&R's Superstar Summer Interns!


  Portland Fire & Rescue We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

  August 4, 2010


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James Bennett

June 26, 2015 at 6:32 PM

We wanted to report what seemed like illegal burning in our neighborhood, near 32nd and sw Illinois st, but could find no number to call. This burning happens in summer time when it is hot and our windows are open. Wife has asthma, so it's no laughing matter. How can we get it investigated and stopped? Thanks, JB


Tod Blatherton

June 29, 2016 at 12:59 PM

I can sympathize with James Bennett. My next door neighbor installed a fire pit near our shared property line, uphill from my house. Just when the weather gets hot and I need to open windows, the smoke comes pouring down the hill into my house. The fires start around 7-9 p.m. and sometimes continue burning until 1 a.m. Then, the smoldering remnants continue to smoke until 6 a.m. or so. Is this legal? How can I resolve this, other than closing windows tight and running AC all night long?


Liz Miller

August 15, 2016 at 5:14 PM

When is a fire pit not allowed. My cousins in another state have nuisance ordinances. Well here on our street we also have a fire pit happy neighbor. My husband has COPD and the smoke when he comes home from work or let's the dog out makes him Ill.

We can't walk in the neighborhood. When we open back door to let dog out smoke comes in, our garage is smoke filled. My husband got pneumonia last year after one night that our home filled with smoke and no doors or windows were opened. There has to be some recourse when people are made I'll because others smoke trespasses into their space? What is the law?


In Human

September 10, 2016 at 7:09 PM

what state is Portland in? denial is the correct answer. ..Portland is full of freaks go home go home go home we don't want you here


archie cooper

March 29, 2017 at 10:50 PM

Nice post and very helpfull information <a href="">fire pit walmart</a>


Sandra hexner

June 15, 2017 at 10:14 AM

Thank you for all this great information about fire regulations My husband and I want to be sure we are being safe when we get our fire pit done. I really like how there is a rule to be sure the area must be clean 3 feet out from the fire pit. It's a really great idea to also have our hose on hand, just in case anything happens. We will keep all of this in mind while we are getting ours in place.
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Thank you for all this great information about fire regulations! My husband and I want to be sure we are being safe when we get our fire pit done. I really like how there is a rule to be sure the area must be clean 3 feet out from the fire pit. It's a really great idea to also have our hose on hand, just in case anything happens. We will keep all of this in mind while we are getting ours in place.
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July 15, 2017 at 5:59 PM

Firepits and yard burning should be banned in Portland. Our air quality is too polluted and those with asthma and other respiratory or autoimmune illnesses get ill from wood smoke. Burning wood is not safe for people. It probably was at one time, but now with toxic pollution it impacts many people's health too much. I read once if a neighbor is impacted that yard and recreational burning isn't allowed, but I can't find it now.


July 25, 2017 at 11:56 PM

The information given to me in your blog has been very informative, always read your post. You get something to learn in a post done by you. Well done. It's a great example of setting a goal and creating that content. Hope you will continue to do such informative posts



August 26, 2017 at 11:53 PM

What is Portland's city government THINKING when they allow people in an urban environment, where neighbors are practically on top of each other, to burn and pollute? Are they in the dark ages?


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Jason Gaba

March 23, 2018 at 5:57 PM

I was just wondering, am I allowed to have a open fire on the beach in pacific city? It would be less than 3ft in diameter, 2ft in height, and it would be far from 25ft from a structure! It would also be during the night when we are camping there!



April 29, 2018 at 5:38 PM

We have a neighbor on N. Princeton Street who insists on burning all kinds of wood in an open pit with junk all around. Often the smoke is so bad that we can't go outdoors. A jointly signed letter from multiple neighbors in past years has helped a little, but he always goes back to the same old thing, saying he just likes to cook over an open fire. He says he has been inspected and his practice has been approved. Surely, if this isn't banned, it should be. The smoke he produces is in itself a health hazard. It should also be noted that the fire is easily within 25 feet of his house and to piles of scrap wood. Is there a number we should call?



May 26, 2018 at 10:40 PM

There is a house on the East side of 88th two houses North of Ellis St (5510). All summer they have fires right on the fence line and it smokes out our entire home. On hot summer days it's brutal to live without AC with the windows closed. I have young kids and my lungs can't handle this. I like to open up the house at dusk this time of year. Pretty much April-October when the fires occur. Fires shouldn't be allowed in residential areas or anywhere in the city. I don't know what to do, but I'll probably stop by the station to discuss.



June 6, 2018 at 2:11 PM

how do we report a fire pit that is too close to a home? our neighbors burn all the time, close to our property line and the smoke fills our house. Like many other comments here, it is hard to sleep in the summer when they burn. If i reported them, they would know it was me and would retaliate. Do you ever do inspections?


Krishna Harinath

June 20, 2018 at 4:25 AM

Thank you for all this great information about fire regulations Really your doing a great job



July 3, 2018 at 10:06 PM

Every 4th of July, some idiot sets up a mortar at Kern Park at SE 66th and Se Center and sets off illegal fireworks. What really irks me is they've burned hole in my carport, scared my dog, and we've had "bomb" debris land in our yard.



July 4, 2018 at 12:11 PM

I encourage PDX fire bureau to consider regulating all apartment balcony BBQ fires, including propane. They are a safety and health hazard in dense living areas.

My neighbor's BBQ continuously causes grease fires with flames shooting over the balcony. We are next to a densely wooded area with tree branches hanging into patios and balconies. My smoke alarm goes off almost weekly due to his careless habits. Management says that as long as the BBQ is propane. Fire department states there is nothing they can do until there is a fire.

Thank you.

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