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Backyard Burning

Backyard Burning

Burn Day Hotline 1-800-834-2876

BACKYARD BURNING SEASON IS OPEN

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.
  • Backyard burning is the burning of green waste material by occupants of one- and two-family dwellings outside of Urban Reserve Line (URL) or Village Reserve Line (VRL) areas on designated “Burn Day”.
  • Backyard burning is prohibited within the city limits and URL or VRL communities. See interactive map below.
  • If you live in Atascadero or Arroyo Grande, please contact the local Fire Deparment for information on their special hazard burn programs.

APCD Backyard Burn Permits (Not available at CAL FIRE facilities)

There are three ways to obtain a backyard burn permit:

1)  Mail-in Burn Permit Form

   a) 2-part burn permit form (list of locations)

  • Complete all sections and sign the 2-part Backyard Burn Application & Permit.
  • The white copy is your burn permit.
  • Enclose a $50.00 check.
  • Mail the yellow copy of the 2-part form and permit fee to:

             San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District
             3433 Roberto Court
             San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

    b) Downloadable Backyard Burn application from APCD's website

  • Complete all sections of the application, print and sign the application.
  • Enclose a $50.00 check.
  • Mail the application and permit fee to:

             San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District
             3433 Roberto Court
             San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

  • After receiving a valid application and check, the APCD will then issue a Burn Permit.

2)  In-person Submittal of Application

  • Submit a completed application form to APCD office during regular business hours (Monday - Friday, 8 am - 12 noon & 1 - 5 pm).
  • Provide payment of check, cash or credit card (process fees apply to credit card transactions).
  • Burn permit is issued upon transaction completion.

3)  On-line E-Payment Permit Renewal

  • Only for individuals who held a backyard burn permit within the past two burn seasons.
  • Go to e-pay to renew your backyard burn permit and process credit card payment (process fees apply to credit card transactions).
  • After payment of the permit fee, please allow a minimum of five (5) business days for the APCD to issue your Burn Permit and send it to you via email or U.S. mail if an email address is not provided or is illegible.

For additional APCD information please contact the Air District's Compliance Division at (805) 781-5912.

Burning Safely

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 urge residents to carefully follow the conditions stated on their permits or seek alternatives to burning, such as green-waste disposal, chipping and composting.

The District Rule Requirements

To protect public health, the APCD Board approved revisions in 2000 to the general burning rule (Rule 501) which phased out backyard burning of green waste material in developed areas of San Luis Obispo County.  Focusing on urbanized areas of the County, the backyard burning restrictions apply to regions where green waste alternatives are available.

The cities and communities listed below are currently prohibited from the open burning of green waste materials:

  Arroyo Grande * Santa Margarita
  Atascadero * San Miguel
  Avila Beach Shandon
  Black Lake Jardine
  Cambria Nipomo
  Cayucos Morro Bay
  Creston Oceano
  Edna / Los Ranchos Paso Robles
  Garden Farms Templeton
  Heritage Ranch Whitley Gardens
  San Luis Obispo Woodlands
  San Simeon Acres  

* Please contact the Fire Departments of Arroyo Grande and Atascadero for information on their special fire hazard burn programs.

Arroyo Grande

Nipomo

Atascadero

Morro Bay

Avila Beach

Oak Shores

Black Lake

Oceano

Cambria

Paso Robles

Cayucos

San Luis Obispo

Creston

San Simeon Acres

Edna / Los Ranchos

Santa Margarita

Garden Farms

San Miguel

Grover Beach

Shandon

Heritage Ranch

Templeton

Jardine

Whitley Gardens

 

Woodlands

Parcels within the SLO County Urban and Village Reserve Lines (URL/VRL) areas listed above are ineligible for backyard burn permits.  Use the map below to see if you are in a burning prohibition area.

Big Map

Burn Season and Permissive Burn Days

Burn Season is: OPEN

Backyard Burn Season usually runs from November 1 to April 30 of the following year. 

On permissive burn days the following restrictions apply:

  • Permissive Burn Days will be determined using a two zone system, i.e. coastal and inland.  More arrow
  • Burning may occur only between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • All green waste materials must be dry (extra precautions must be taken to account for moisture from recent rains) and free of trash or dirt.
  • Green waste must originate on the property where burning occurs.
  • Burn piles cannot be larger than 4 feet high by 6 feet diameter.
  • Burn piles must have adequate clearance from neighboring property (50 ft), structures (30 ft) and combustible materials (15 ft).
  • Burns may not cause a nuisance with smoke and ash to neighbors.
  • If you live near a "smoke sensitive site" such as a school, nursing home or park, you must take extra care to eliminate potential smoke and ash impacts from your burn.

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 Line at (800) 834-2876 to find out if the current day is a permissive burn day in your zone.

Contact us if you have questions on where and when you can burn.

Alternatives

We are continuing our efforts to develop effective alternatives to assist the residents and communities in managing their green waste materials. Alternatives include backyard composting, community chipping and composting programs, and green waste curbside pickup.

 

Contact us for more information on this topic.