Permit Burning

Permit burning is allowed within State Responsibility Areas (SRA) and Local Responsibility Areas (LRA) within the jurisdiction of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.  Burning is allowed when the department has transitioned to Low Fire Season Preparedness Level based on predicted weather patterns and local fuel moisture levels.  Agricultural burning is allowed under certain controlled conditions during high fire season.  Please note: these permits are issued for burn piles only and are not intended for the burning of standing vegetation.

There are several categories of pile burning that require a burn permit:  

Types of burn permits issued

Burn permits can be obtained by contacting your local fire station.  To find the fire station nearest you, please go to the drop down menu “Emergency Operations” and click on “Stations.”

Prior to issuance of a permit, all burn sites and piles will be inspected by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department for compliance with the appropriate permit conditions.  The permittee must contact the fire department prior to starting any permit burn.

Burn days are determined by the time of year and the weather.  Burning during the winter months when the fuel moisture levels are high and temperatures are low is preferred.  Also, the ability of the smoke to mix with the atmosphere is critical.  A high pressure, stable condition is not recommended for burning due to the inability of the smoke to easily dissipate. Predicted high winds can also suspend burning. Smoke may be visible as a result of these permitted burns.  The Santa Barbara County Fire Department and Air Pollution Control District work closely together to determine appropriate days for permit burning.  Burning is never allowed on Sundays or holidays.  In the Santa Ynez Valley air basin zone, burning should commence no earlier than 10:00 am for all categories of open burning to limit the amount of smoke trapped under the early morning inversion.

There are specific rules and guidelines for all types of permit burning:

Burn permit instructions

Burn permit area maps

Each day, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department announces on a recorded phone line whether permit burning is allowed.  The public can ascertain whether it is a permissive burn day by calling the burn status phone number at: (805) 686-8177.

It is still possible to have wildfires during the winter months in Southern California.  Santa Barbara County residents are encouraged to continue to reduce flammable vegetation around their structures, property and roads.  Through the Ready! Set! Go! Program, land owners have the opportunity to be educated about issues concerning defensible space and vegetation removal.