City Ordinance Limits Wood and Debris Burning to Protect Air Quality
In order to ensure clean air for residents and continued compliance with the Federal Clean Air Act, the Hillsboro City Council passed an ordinance in 2015 that limits wood burning within the City limits. The ordinance went into effect on November 20, 2015.
What does the ordinance mean?
Because of geography and weather conditions, the quality of the air we breathe in the City of Hillsboro does not always meet health-based Federal standards, particularly in the winter. Air quality monitoring shows that up to 80% of emissions of very fine particulates (known as PM 2.5) in Washington County during the fall and winter season is produced by wood and debris burning. This problem increases in winter, from November 1 to March 1, since air inversions impact concentrations of pollution and more people burn wood and debris for heat and disposal.
The daily levels of particulates are regulated to ensure that allowable levels are not exceeded so that the community is not at risk of health impacts such as asthma, respiratory and pulmonary conditions.
Learn more about particulate matter and why it is a health concern.
The ordinance is similar to one passed October 6, 2015 by the Washington County Commission that covers unincorporated areas of Washington County that are within the Metro Service District boundary. This map tool can help you determine whether the County ordinance applies to you.
Fireplaces, Wood Stoves and Wood Stove Inserts
Between November 1 and March 1 each year, Washington County will issue a daily air quality advisory.
- On “Yellow” air days residents will be asked to avoid burning wood
- On “Red” air days residents will be prohibited from burning
On "RED" days, the following exemptions apply:
- To households that rely on wood burning as their only source of heat
- To households that qualify as low-income
- When there is an interruption in utility service (electricity or natural gas)
- When a household's primary heating system is temporarily not working (no more than 120 days)
The ordinance does not:
- Restrict the use of pellet stoves
- Restrict burning between March 2 and October 31
Air Quality Status
To find out when air quality is in "yellow" or "red" status:
To sign up:
- Register on the "Community Notification Enrollment" form
- Select "Air Quality and Wood Burning Alerts" under "Additional Notifications"
- Select how you would like to be notified
- Call the Washington County Air Quality Hotline at 503-846-8744.
- Radio, TV and news outlets will be notified of "Red" air quality days so alerts should be announced on local radio and TV stations.
Wood Stove Exchange Program
Older and non-certified wood stoves and wood stove inserts are inefficient, dirty and can pollute the air inside your home and in your neighborhood. If you use one of these old stoves , we can help you replace it with a new heating system for little or no cost.
Washington County is now offering rebates of $1,500-$3,500 (some households will qualify for a FREE replacement, based on income) when you replace your old wood stove or insert with one of the following:
- Electric ductless heat pump
- Gas stove or insert
- Pellet stove or insert
- Gas furnace
- EPA certified wood stove or wood stove insert (only available to households who are eligible for a free replacement).
Outdoor BurningCity code prohibits outdoor burning year-round. Exceptions include recreational fires (such as fire pits, chimineas and barbecues).
Alternatives to Burning Yard Debris
Contact Your Waste Hauler
- Contact your waste hauler to request an additional yard debris cart*
- Place extra yard debris in paper Lawn & Yard Debris Refuse bags (available at Home Depot and other home improvement stores) and leave next to your roll cart on pick-up days*
*Additional charges may apply so be sure to inquire with your waste hauler
Self Haul to Local Recyclers
- Best Buy In Town Landscape Supply
2200 NW Cornelius Pass Road, Hillsboro
- S & H Landscape Supplies & Recycling
1748 NE 25th Avenue, Hillsboro
- Hillsboro Landfill and Tualatin Valley Waste Recovery
3205 SE Minter Bridge Road, Hillsboro
- Nature's Needs
9570 NW 307th Avenue, North Plains
Yard Debris Composting
Visit Metro's website for information and resources about yard debris composting.
- For general questions about the ordinance and information on alternatives to yard debris burning, call 503-681-6219.
- To report a violation of the wood burning ordinance in Hillsboro, call Hillsboro Code Compliance at 503-629-0111.
- Wood and open burning in unincorporated Washington County or call 503-846-8744.
- Sign-up for daily air quality alerts:
- Visit www. public alerts.org
- Select "Sign Up" under "Emergency Notifications"
- Create an account
- Check the box for the "Air Quality and Wood Burning Alerts"