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Burning

Burning

Due to drought conditions, CAL FIRE has suspended all burning.

Burn Day Hotline 1-800-834-2876

BACKYARD BURN SEASON IS CLOSED 

Backyard burn season closed this year on May 1, 2014. Backyard burning is allowed in some rural areas of San Luis Obispo County by PERMIT only during the burn season, which typically runs from whenever Fire Season is closed in the fall through the end of April. 
 
PERMIT REQUIRED
Tyle of Burning APCD CAL FIRE
Backyard Backyard Burning Permit LE-62a
Agricultural Agricultural Burning Permit LE-5
  • Agricultural Burning - May only be conducted by agricultural operations that derive income from the growing of crops, or the raising of animals, or vegetation, forest or range management.
CAL FIRE Burn Permits – Both types of CAL FIRE Burn Permits are available from your nearest CAL FIRE facility. Please visit http://calfireslo.org/burnpermits.html for information on burn permits and http://calfireslo.org/operationsstations.html for Station locations and contacts, or call Unit Headquarters at 805-543-4244.
 
APCD Burn Permits (Not available at CAL FIRE facilities)
  • Downloadable Applications for both types of APCD Burn Permits (Backyard Burn Permit (closed) & Agricultural Burn Permit) are available at http://www.SLOCleanAir.org to fill out, print and mail to the APCD, with a check for the permit fee ($50.00) – credit card and electronic payments are currently NOT accepted. After receiving a valid application and check, the APCD will then issue a Burn Permit.
  • Two-part Mail-in Application & Permit forms for both types of burning are available at most libraries, selected Community Service District offices, the County Agricultural Commissioner’s and the APCD office.
  • For additional APCD information about burning and the downloadable Applications for San Luis Obispo County, please visit the web site at http://www.SLOCleanAir.org or contact the Air District's Compliance Division at (805) 781-5912. Call 1-800-834-2876 for Burn Day status.
Open burning releases smoke and air pollution that may be harmful to public health, and residents must exercise caution when conducting burning operations. Burning during windy or unsafe conditions frequently results in escaped fires and residents can receive misdemeanor citations and/or be billed for suppression costs. CAL FIRE and APCD urges residents to carefully follow the conditions stated on their permits or seek alternatives to burning, such as green-waste disposal, chipping and composting.
 
  

Burning and Health

Burning has been a long-time contributor to air pollution in our area by emitting smoke and ash. Historically, burning throughout the county has resulted in numerous complaints to the APCD concerning impacts on public health, odors, and visual pollution. Smoke from burning is an uncontrolled source of air pollution that can affect the burner, their families and neighbors and more specifically, smoke and ash generated through the burning of household waste (e.g., garbage and rubbish) may contain many toxic air contaminants, including dioxins. These pollutants often travel long distances and may contaminate air, water, food and soil. Unfortunately, the toxins can remain in the environment for many years.

Children, the elderly and those that already have a respiratory condition are the most susceptible to the health impacts of these air contaminants. Immediate health effects may include burning and itching eyes, shortness of breath, headaches, and asthma attacks. Long term effects may include respiratory disease, lung damage, cancer, and premature death. To protect the public's health, efforts at the state and local level help to reduce the amount of burning and better manage smoke from burning practices.

Click here to see the latest flyers developed by the SLO County APCD to educate the public on the effects of wood smoke on your health.

Burn Day Forecasting

Burn day forecasting for both residential and agricultural burning is a 2-zone system that allows the inland and coastal areas to have separate and more accurate forecasts. To determine which zone you are in, please refer to this map image or Google Map. Please note, the city of Atascadero is located entirely within the inland burn zone. Click here for a detailed image of the burn zones in the Huasna area. The California Air Resources Board, California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CAL FIRE) and the APCD designate permissive burn days. Call the APCD Burn Day Hotline at (800) 834-2876 to find out if the current day is a permissive burn day in your zone.

Backyard Burning

Backyard Burning is the open burning of yard wastes by single family households or duplex residents. Backyard burning green waste burn piles include dry weeds, plant prunings, shrubbery, tree trimmings and branches. Burning of this material creates particulate matter and air pollution that can cause numerous health effects such as coughing, headaches or respiratory problems. More Description: arrows

Agricultural Burning

Agricultural burning is defined as the use of fire for vegetation management of agricultural fields and orchards. Agricultural Burn Permits are required prior to conducting any burning. There is a one-time permit cost of $50per year, payable in advance to the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD). Up to 100 tons of piled material, or up to 10 acres of standing vegetation, can be burned using the Agricultural Burn Permit. To obtain a 2-Part Burn Permit Form for Agricultural Burning see this list of the numerous county-wide distribution locations, or download a mail-in only Application to obtain an Agricultural Burn Permit. For details on the restrictions and requirements for Agricultural Burning, click here.

Smoke Management Plans

Prescribed burning is the use of fire for management of wildlands, like rangelands and forests.  APCD Rule 502 and the California Air Resources Board (ARB) Title 17 (Smoke Management Guidelines) for Agricultural and Prescribed Burning give burners directions on how to burn properly. Review the requirements for burning here.  Larger burns must use the Smoke Management permit application form.  These larger burns also have permit fees, which are based on the amount of acreage burned or stacked/ piled material burned.  The fee schedule is as follows:

Fee
Description of Material

$125

For over 10 acres and up to 100 acres of standing vegetation or  more than 100 tons and up to 500 tons of stacked or piled material

 

$185

For over 100 acres and up to 250 acres of standing vegetation or over 500 tons and up to 1,000 tons of stacked or piled  material

 

$250

More than 250 acres of standing vegetation or more than 1,000 tons of stacked or piled material

 

Developmental Burning

Developmental burning is the burning of vegetation, tree stumps, etc. that are grown on property being developed for commercial or residential uses. Developmental burning is no longer allowed in San Luis Obispo County. If no alternatives to burning are available, limited developmental burning under severe restrictions may be allowed. For more information contact the APCD's Compliance staff at 805-781-5912. 

Burning of Household Waste is Prohibited

The APCD is enforcing the state prohibition on burning household or residential waste and burning in burn barrels throughout the county. Burning of products containing rubber, plastic, tar, creosote or hydrocarbons is never allowed. In 2004, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) enacted a statewide regulation that prohibited burning of household waste, including paper and cardboard, to minimize toxic air contaminants generated during the burning of such material. More Description: arrows

Other Burning

Burn permits are also required for the following:

  • Public or industrial fire-fighting training.
  • Prevention of a fire hazard that cannot be abated by any other means.
  • The disposal of agricultural waste as specified by Rule 502. The agricultural waste must be produced and burned on site.
  • Levee, ditch and reservoir maintenance, or right-of-way clearing by a public entity or utility.
  • Developmental burning when there are no technically feasible alternatives.
  • Prescribed burning.

All burning permits listed above are issued by the APCD. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CAL FIRE) also requires a permit for all types of burning during the fire hazard season.
If smoke or flying ash produced while burning becomes a nuisance, the burn permit may be revoked.

Contact us for more information on this topic.