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Open Burning Program
Backyard Burn season is currently OPEN - CLOSING APRIL 30, 2022.
Para las regulaciones en general de la quema en el jardín trasero en forma apropiada, oprima aquí.
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.
To qualify for a Backyard Burn Permit you must occupy single family or duplex residence OUTSIDE of cities and URL/VRL areas.
All burning requires an APCD Burn Permit.
For more information on Backyard Burning, click here.
Agricultural burning is defined as open outdoor fires used in agricultural operations in the growing of crops or raising of fowl or animals, used in vegetation, forest or range management, the improvement of land for wildlife and game habitat, or agricultural disease or pest prevention. Agricultural Burn Permits are required prior to conducting any burning.
To qualify for an Agricultural Burn Permit you must derive some income from agricultural operation (e.g., vineyard, row crop, livestock, forest or range management). If you do not derive an income from an Ag operation, you are not eligible for an Ag burn permit.
All burning requires an APCD Burn Permit and during Fire Season, also requires a permit from CAL Fire.
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.
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 backyard 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.
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:
Description of Material
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
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
More than 250 acres of standing vegetation or more than 1,000 tons of stacked or piled material
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
Burn permits are also required for the following:
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.
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.