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Lake Merritt
Oakland
Alameda County

Air Quality Fact

The Winter Spare the Air season runs from November 1, 2009, through February 28, 2010. During this period,  wood burning is banned when a Winter Spare the Air Alert is in effect. On days when burning is allowed residents must still burn cleanly using dry, seasoned fire wood and not burn garbage, leaves or other material that would cause excessive smoke.

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Open Burn Status

9/1/2014
North: Burn Prohibited
South: Burn Prohibited
Coastal: Burn Prohibited
9/2/2014
North: Burn Allowed
South: Burn Allowed
Coastal: Burn Allowed

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Open Burning

Open burning is the disposal of any waste material in an open, outdoor fire and can be a large source of air pollution. Smoke from open burning contains very fine particles, gases and other toxic products of burning that 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 adverse smoke 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.

Any proposed burn may also be restricted by local fire or other officials.

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).

Notification Submittal - send the completed notification form* to the Air District via FAX at (415) 928-0338, electronically to openburn@baaqmd.gov, or by mail to: BAAQMD; ATTENTION: Mail Stop OB2; 939 Ellis Street; San Francisco, CA 94109

*Note: Notification and fee payment must be made prior to burning. Mailed notifications must be postmarked at least five calendar days prior to burning. For structural fire training, notification must be made at least ten working days prior to the burn.

Open Burning Forms

Form NameDivisionDownloads
Open Burning Notification FormENFOpen Burning Notification Form(302 k PDF, 3 pgs)
Marsh BurnENFMarsh Burn Smoke Management Plan Form and Instructions(424 k PDF, 6 pgs)
Prescribed Burn Smoke Management Plan Form and InstructionsENFPrescribed Burn Smoke Management Plan Form and Instructions(52 k PDF, 4 pgs)

Helpful Tools

Last Updated: 11/25/2013