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Backyard Burning

Backyard Burning

Burn Day Hotline 1-800-834-2876


Backyard burning permits will not be available until burn season is in effect. 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.
Type of Burning APCD CAL FIRE
Backyard Backyard Burning Permit  LE-62a
Agricultural Agricultural Burning Permit LE-5
  • Backyard Burning - May only be conducted by occupants of single family or duplex dwellings outside urban and village reserve lines in rural areas on a designated “Burn Day”.
  • 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 for information on burn permits and 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 are available at 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 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.

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



Morro Bay

Avila Beach

Oak Shores

Black Lake



Paso Robles


San Luis Obispo


San Simeon Acres

Edna / Los Ranchos

Santa Margarita

Garden Farms

San Miguel

Grover Beach


Heritage Ranch



Whitley Gardens



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: CLOSED

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.

Obtaining a Permit

For residents who live in areas where backyard burning is allowed find more information on how to obtain a burn permit here.


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.