Burn Day Status

May 29. Backyard Burn Season closed. Ag requires a LE-5 permit





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Backyard Burning



Burn Day Hotline 1-800-834-2876

When Burn Season is open, burning is allowed in some rural areas of San Luis Obispo County by permit only on Permissive Burn Days. Burn Season typically begins (weather permitting) in late fall and runs 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 a designated Permissive Burn Day.
  • Backyard burning is prohibited within the city limits and URL or VRL communities. See interactive map here.
  • Atascadero and Arroyo Grande administer their own backyard burn programs. Please contact the City of Atascadero  and City of Arroyo Grande for more information.
  • All residential open burning of cannabis waste is prohibited.
  • We are highly encouraging those that have held burn permits within the last two years to renew this season online
  • Alternatives to backyard burning may be available.

APCD Backyard Burn Permits

There are three ways to currently obtain a backyard burn permit during Burn Season:

1)  Online Permit Application Renewal 

  • For individuals who held a backyard burn permit within the past two burn seasons; your previous burn permit number or Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) will be required to complete this process.
  • Go to e-pay to renew your backyard burn permit and process credit card payment. Process fees apply to credit card transactions. 
  • This site will serve as your "Application" as we have your information from previous burn seasons, no need to complete another Application.
  • After payment of the 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. 

2)  Paper Application Form (locations available)

   a) Pick up burn permit application form from SLO County APCD 

  • Pick up a burn permit application form from SLO County APCD. Complete all sections and sign the Application for Backyard Burning.
  • Enclose a $50.00 check.
  • Mail or hand deliver the form and permit fee to:

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

Please note that Backyard Burn Permits are not available at local CAL FIRE stations. 

    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 or hand deliver 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.

3)  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.

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


APCD Requirements

In 2000, APCD Board approved revisions to the general burning rule (Rule 501) which phased out backyard burning of green waste material in developed areas of San Luis Obispo County.  As a result, parcels within the San Luis Obispo County Urban and Village Reserve Lines (URL/VRL) areas listed below are ineligible for backyard burn permits

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

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

To confirm whether a property is eligible for a backyard burn permit, please use the map below.


Burn Season and Permissive Burn Days

Backyard Burn Season is announced by CAL FIRE. The start of the season depends on rainfall; its usually runs from late fall through April 30 of the following year. 

The following restrictions apply for Backyard Burning:

  • Burning may only be conducted on a PERMISSIVE BURN DAY at the indicated burn site. Please call the Burn Day Hotline at 1-800-834-2876 or visit the APCD website for the current burn day status.
    Burn day forecasting for all burning is a two-zone system (Coastal and Inland) to provide accurate forecasts. View the Burn Zone Map here.
  • All green waste materials must be completely dry and free of trash or dirt.
  • Green waste must originate on the property where burning occurs.
  • It is ILLEGAL to burn the following materials:

    RUBBER - tires, fabric, sponge, etc.
    PLASTIC - drip tape, containers, objects, floor covering, synthetic fibers, etc.
    HYDROCARBONS – diesel, oil, grease, solvent, paint, or items heavily coated with these.
    LUMBER or CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS – dimensional lumber whether treated or not, plywood, etc.
    TAR or CREOSOTE - impregnated paper, shingles, roofing materials, wood, etc.
    CANNABIS WASTE – any cannabis waste or byproduct
    TRIMMINGS -Lawn clippings, piled leaves and piles of pine needles
  • Burning may occur only between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • Burn piles cannot be larger than 4 feet high by 6 feet diameter.
  • Burn piles must have adequate clearance from neighboring property (50 feet), structures (30 feet) and combustible materials (15 ft).
  • Burn permits may be revoked in instances when burns cause a smoke or ash nuisance and/or complaints.
  • 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.

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


The APCD IS continuing our efforts to develop effective alternatives to assist the residents and communities in managing their green waste materials without burning. Alternatives include backyard composting, community chipping and composting programs, and green waste curbside pickup. 

Contact us for more information on this topic.