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.

Burn Permit Information and Instructions

There are several categories of pile burning that require a burn permit. Links to permit types, instructions and other reference material found below:

Eligibility for burn permits and types of permits can be found using the Burn Permit Information Map or by contacting your local fire station.

Burn permits can only be obtained by contacting your local fire station. To find the Santa Barbara County Fire Department station nearest the proposed burn location, please go to the drop down menu “Emergency Services” and click on “County Fire Stations.” After a burn permit is obtained, permittee must notify the fire department the day of the proposed burn prior to starting any permit burn. If you can’t reach the fire station, please call Fire HQ at 805-681-5500.

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.

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 or by referring to the Burn Day Status Map.

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.