Types of Burn Permits Issued

Agricultural Burning

The open outdoor use of fire to reduce waste produced from agricultural operations when used as follows:

  • Materials produced solely from the operations in the growing and harvesting of crops or the raising of fowl or
    animals for:
    • The primary purpose of making a profit
    • Providing of livelihood
    • Conducting agricultural research or instruction by an educational institution
  • Grass and weeds in or adjacent to fields in cultivation or being prepared for cultivation.
  • Materials not produced wholly from such operations as in #1 above, but which are intimately related to the growing or harvesting of crops and which are used in the field such as fertilizer and pesticide sacks or containers where the sacks or containers do not contain plastic and are emptied and burned in the field.
  • Russian Thistle eradication is the burning of cut stacked dry “tumbleweeds” (Salsola Kali) for the specific purpose of controlling the propagation of this thistle which impedes agricultural operations, removing the hazard of accumulated tumbleweeds from along roadways, and removing tumbleweeds as a source of fuel for wildfires when accumulated in fire hazard zones.


It is important to remember that agricultural operations can only be claimed by the permittee if the operation or activity strictly meets the definition above. Tires, rubbish, tar paper, plastic, construction debris, trees, shrubs and weeds from non-productive areas such as along roadways (exception: tumbleweeds), and around buildings are not agricultural waste and shall not be burned.


An outdoor fire utilized for ceremonial purposes that does not meet the definition of a recreational fire.

Fire Hazard Reduction Burning

The burning of cuttings from trees, vines or bushes that have been cut specifically for the purpose of reducing a potential fire hazard. Fire Hazard Reduction Burning is restricted to “high” and “very high” fire
hazard severity zones as delineated in the Fire Hazard Severity Zone maps.

Residential Dry Vegetation Burning (Backyard Burning)

The burning of leaves, weeds, grass clippings, shrubbery and tree prunings (all adequately dried) by occupants of one and two-family dwellings only, within the Northern Zone except in the incorporated cities of Solvang, Santa Maria and Lompoc. Burning is permitted on the premises in open outdoor fires on permissive burn days in the months of February, May, August and November; subject to strict control and issuance of a permit therefore by the public fire protection agency having jurisdiction.


Northern Zone burning is the clearance of rights-of-way by a public entity or utility for levee, reservoir and ditch maintenance. All material burned must be cut and prepared by stacking, drying or other methods to promote combustion. This rule applies to the Cuyama Valley only.

Exempt from burn permit requirements

Recreational Fire

A fire that involves the burning of materials other than rubbish where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace (ie: chiminea), barbecue pit, barbecue grill, or any other type of approved portable cooker with a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height for religious, ceremonial, cooking or similar purposes. Permits are not required for recreational fires. Recreational fires on the beach (commonly incorrectly referred to as “bonfires on the beach”) below the mean high tide line also do not require permits as long as they meet the 3-foot in diameter and 2-foot or less in height requirements. The material to be burned should be thoroughly dry and reasonably free of dirt and trash to ensure a clean burn.