Cutting Down Trees on Personal Property
When removing trees (located outside of regulated critical areas, shoreline management jurisdiction, Lake Padden Watershed, Lake Samish Watershed and/or protected native growth areas) for personal firewood purposes (less than 5,000 board feet) or if a tree poses immediate and direct danger to residences or other structures, then a permit is generally not required provided the stump is left.

Removing the stump constitutes a grading activity (or conversion) that triggers the need for a critical areas and resource lands evaluation/permit (click here for instructions). When converting forest land (pulling stumps) or clearing land for development a clearing permit authorization (and generally a State Environmental Protection Act checklist) is required from Whatcom County and possibly the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 
Clearing or logging that does not result in conversion may require a permit from DNR but is typically exempt from county review (WCC 20.80.733.2).