Open burning is the burning of waste materials most commonly from agricultural crops or prescribed burns and can be a large source of air pollution and smoke. Smoke from open burning contains very fine particles, gases and other toxic products of burning can be inhaled deeply into the lungs. Scientific studies have linked exposure to fine particles to difficulty in breathing, aggravated asthma, increased emergency room visits and hospital admissions, and, in some cases, premature deaths. Those most at risk are children, the elderly and people with chronic respiratory problems.
To mimimize impacts on public health, open burning is generally prohibited in the Bay Area Air Quality Management District with the exception of seventeen (17) types of fires which are regulated under the Open Burning regulation.
Each regulated fire type may only be conducted during its permissive burn period. A permissive burn period is the time of year when a particular burn type is allowed. The Air District may extend the burn periods in some cases. In addition, most allowable fires are limited to only Burn Days, as declared by the Air District, when conditions allow for dispersion of smoke to minimize the impact on public health.
In addition, the fire types that require notification to the District prior to ignition (and the public official who has the authority to approve a proposed burn) are also listed in Permissive Burn Periods under "Helpful Tools" (see below).
*Note: Notification must be made at least five days prior to burning. Mailed notifications must be postmarked at least five days prior to burning. For structural fire training notification must be made ten days prior to the burn.