Types of Burning | Burn Day | Rules & Regulations | Permit Burning | Prescribed Burning | About Smoke & Health


Prescribed Burning

  • The planned application of fire to vegetation to achieve any specific objective on lands selected in advance of that application
  • Administered by Land Managers including federal, state, local, or private entities such as the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, National Forest Service, Vandenberg Air Force Base, etc.
  • A prescribed burn should occur on a Burn Day
  • The APCD may authorize limited prescribed burning on a Marginal Burn Day, when smoke impacts to sensitive areas are not expected as a result (see APCD Rule 401.C.3.c)
  • Prescribed Burns require a Smoke Management Plan, approved by the APCD
  • Requirements specified in APCD Rule 401, Agricultural and Prescribed Burning

Smoke Management Plans

  • Ensure minimal adverse effects on public health from smoke associated with a prescribed burn
  • Identify the following:
    • Public notification methods
    • Coordination with California Air Resources Board (CARB) and other Air Districts
    • Expected meteorological conditions
    • Smoke modeling
    • Meteorological and air monitoring methods
    • Information about the vegetation to be burned
    • Estimated particulate matter emissions
    • Fire suppression techniques
  • Prepared for each prescribed burn by the Land Manager
  • Reviewed and approved by the APCD
  • More information on requirements available in Section D of APCD Rule 401

Prescribed Burn Process for Land Managers

  1. Beginning of the calendar year: Land Managers submit list of expected prescribed burns for the calendar year.
  2. At least 4 weeks before Prescribed Burn: Land Manager submits Smoke Management Plan to APCD using CARB Prescribed Fire Information Reporting System (PFIRS).
  3. Within 1 week after Smoke Management Plan submittal: APCD reviews Smoke Management Plan and provides feedback to Land Manager. Smoke Management Plan approved by APCD after all feedback is addressed.
  4. At least 2-3 weeks before Prescribed Burn: Land Manager drafts 1st News Release and submits to APCD for review. Contact [email protected] for the 1st News Release template. Final 1st News Release jointly issued by Land Manager and APCD.
  5. At least 1 day before Prescribed Burn: Land Manager drafts 2nd Media Release and submits to APCD for review. Contact [email protected]g for the 2nd Media Release template. Final 2nd Media Release jointly issued by Land Manager and APCD.
  6. At least 1 day before each day of the Prescribed Burn: Land Manager submits ignition request using CARB Prescribed Fire Information Reporting System (PFIRS). APCD reviews ignition request and approves or denies.
  7. Within 1 week after Prescribed Burn: Land Manager submits Completed Acreage Report for the prescribed burn using CARB Prescribed Fire Information Reporting System (PFIRS)
  8. Within 30 days after Prescribed Burn: If burn was greater than 250 acres, Land Manager submits the Post-Burn Smoke Management Evaluation to the APCD. Requirements are specified in APCD Rule 401.D.8.
  9. By February 1st of each year: Land Managers submit a report with the estimated tonnage burned in prescribed burning during the prior calendar year.

For more information or assistance, call the District at (805) 961-8800 or e-mail us at [email protected].