Public Alert – All City facilities, playgrounds, sports courts, and recreation equipment are closed through April 28 in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

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Outdoor Burning and Recreational Fires

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  • Outdoor Burn Pile

    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.The ordinance also bans yard debris burning on residential properties at all times, year-round. The ordinance does not restrict recreational fires such as backyard fire pits, chimineas or barbecues.

    Read the Air Quality In Our Community brochure.


The following information has been developed to assist property owners in safely enjoying recreational fires while meeting local and State of Oregon code requirements.


2014 Oregon Fire Code §307

Hillsboro Municipal Code HMC 6.40

Oregon Revised Statue (ORS) 476.735


Open Burning: The burning of materials wherein products of combustion are emitted directly into the ambient air without passing through a stack or chimney from an enclosed chamber.
Portable Outdoor Fireplace: A portable, outdoor, solid-fuel-burning fireplace that may be constructed of steel, concrete, clay or other noncombustible material. A portable outdoor fireplace may be open in design, or may be equipped with a small hearth opening and a short chimney or chimney opening in the top.
Recreational Fire: An outdoor fire with a total fuel area of three feet or less in diameter and two feet or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes. Includes fires lit in chimineas, patio fireplaces, fire pits, or other similar devices using charcoal, natural gas, propane, manufactured fire logs, or clean dry natural firewood as fuel, and which occurs in designated areas on public lands or on private property. The fire cannot serve as a disposal fire.
Sky Lantern: An unmanned self-contained luminary devices that uses heated air produced by open flame or produced by another source to become or remain airborne.

Burn Permits

  • A permit is not required for a fire that falls under the definition of a recreational fire; however, the fire shall be conducted in accordance with this standard.
  • Recreational fires may be prohibited when local circumstances make such fires hazardous. On occasion the Washington County Fire Defense Board may issue a temporary ban on all burning, including recreational fires, when the fire danger is exceptionally high.  (OFC 307.1.1)  

Recreational Fires - General Requirements

  • A recreational fire shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material. Conditions which could cause a fire to spread within 25 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition. ( OFC 307.4.2)
  • Recreational fires and portable outdoor fireplaces shall be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished. A minimum of one portable fire extinguisher with a minimum 4-A rating or other approved on-site fire-extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose or water truck, shall be available for immediate utilization. (OFC 307.5)   
  • You can burn natural, dry firewood, charcoal, manufactured fire logs, natural gas or propane. You cannot burn anything that creates dense smoke or noxious odor, including leaves and construction debris. (City of Hillsboro HMC 6.40)
  • The fire code official is authorized to order the extinguishment of a fire that creates or adds to a hazardous situation. ( OFC 307.3) 

Portable Fireplaces and Campfires

  • A portable fireplace or campfire does not require a permit if it falls within the definition of a recreational fire.
  • A portable outdoor fireplace shall be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and shall not be operated within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material. It shall be placed on a noncombustible surface. (OFC 307.4.3)
  • If the portable fireplace is located 25 feet or more from structures and combustible materials, it does not have to be in an approved container, but shall follow the requirements for a recreational fire. (OFC 307.4.2)   
  • In all cases the fire cannot be wider than 3 feet in diameter or higher than 2 feet. ( OFC 307.4)

Permanent Outdoor Fireplace

  • Permanent Campfire RingThe fire code does not prohibit construction of an outdoor fireplace. 
  • Before beginning construction, contact the City of Hillsboro Planning Department at (503) 681-6153 for information on required setbacks and compliance with the Community Development Code. 
  • Contact the City of Hillsboro Building Department at 503-681-6144 to discuss your plans and determine what permits are necessary.

Sky Lanterns

Sky Lantern in Air

Sky lanterns, often called paper lanterns, may not be released into the air in the State of Oregon in accordance with Oregon Revised Statute 476.735. Releasing a sky lantern is a Class A violation with a maximum fine of $2,000.