Types of Burning | About Smoke & Health | Rules & Regulations | Burn Permits & Burn Days


The Santa Barbara County Fire Department is now offering a neighborhood chipping pilot program as an alternative to residential backyard burning. Please visit the SBC Fire Department Chipping webpage to get more information.


Burn Permits & EnforcementWhat is a Burn Day?

Burn permits are required for:

A burn permit is required for all outdoor burning activity except recreational (campfires) and cooking (BBQ). This includes:

  • Agricultural Burning (see definition)
  • Prescribed burns and vegetation management (burn permit AND smoke management plan required)
  • Residential backyard burning (permitted only in the unincorporated areas of the Santa Ynez Valley)

To obtain a burn permit, contact your local fire jurisdiction. Conditions of the burn permit regulate the materials burned, the hours burning is allowed, ignition, smoke management, fire suppression, the size and number of piles, and more. Burn permits must be used on a permissive burn day. The following is an example of burn permit requirements.

The Air Pollution Control District may visit open burning activity, even if no complaint has been filed, to verify that the operator has a valid permit and is burning only allowed materials.

A burn permit may be used ONLY on a burn day.

To find out if today is a Burn Day, call (805) 686-8177

Click here to view burn day forecast by California Air Resources Board, but note that the Burn Day hot line (above) has final day-to-day determination. In addition, if any part of the county is considered “marginal,” “unfavorable,” or “no burn” in the forecast, it will be considered a “no burn” day for the entire county.

Each day, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department announces on the above recorded phone line whether permit burning is allowed. The designation of a burn day applies only to holders of current burn permits. It does not grant permission for any unpermitted burn activity.

Burn days are determined by the time of year and the weather. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department and Air Pollution Control District work closely together to determine appropriate days for permit burning.

The designation of a burn day starts with forecasting by meteorologists at the California Air Resources Board. The primary factor considered is the strength and persistence of atmospheric temperature inversions. Burning is not allowed when weather conditions minimize or prevent dispersion of smoke and other pollutants.

Regardless of the California Air Resources Board’s forecast of a permissive burn day, the Santa Barbara County Fire department and the Air Pollution Control District have the authority to prohibit open outdoor burning at any time. Burning is never allowed on Sundays or holidays.