Air District Operations

The Air District is taking steps to ensure Bay Area air quality and public health are protected while the shelter-in-place orders are in effect. Permits for businesses adjusting operations to aid in the public health response will also be expedited. Read more... | en Español

Open Burn Information

Learn about open burning and permissible fire seasons in the Bay Area and read descriptions of and instructions for conducting certain types of allowable fires.

The Air District regulates open burning because of its impact on air quality. Most open burning is illegal in the Bay Area, but some limited types of open burning fires are allowed, primarily for agricultural or natural resource management purposes.

Open burning is only allowed when weather conditions are favorable for smoke dispersion and air pollution levels are not expected to be high. Many types of open burning can only take place during specified periods throughout the year.

The Air District designates each day of the year as either a BURN or a NO BURN day based on air quality forecasts. Allowable fires may only be set during their established burn season on a designated BURN day. Under Air District policy, permissive BURN days will not be declared when a Spare the Air Alert is in effect. View the Open Burn Status web page.

The Air District’s open burning requirements apply to the nine-county Bay Area region, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, southwestern Solano, and southern Sonoma counties.

The full text of the Air District’s Regulation 5: Open Burning is available on the Current Rules page of the Air District’s website. Open burn information is also available on the Air District’s toll-free number at 1-800-HELP AIR (435-7247), and you can download the Air District’s Open Burn Fact Sheet.

Fire Types and their Burn Seasons

The following types of fires can only be set during their specific burn seasons, unless otherwise indicated.

Marsh Management Fires

There are two burn periods per year for Marsh Management fires: a spring and fall season. The spring open burning season runs from March 1 through April 15, and the fall open burning season runs from September 1 through October 15.

Marsh Management fires are set for the purpose of improving marshland for wildlife habitat. All Marsh Management fires must be deemed necessary by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. No fire is allowed on any given piece of land more than once in any two-year period, and no more than 100 acres of any property may be burned in a single day. Prior to burning, Marsh Management fires require an Air District-approved Smoke Management Plan, payment of an open burning operation fee based on the proposed acreage to be burned, and receipt of a daily acreage burning allocation from the Air District.

Marsh burners must call (415) 749-4915 by 12 noon on the day before the intended burn and leave a message with the property name and acreage amount to be burned. This is in addition to the existing requirement that burners call (415) 749-4600 between 8:30 and 11:30 AM on the morning of the planned burn, prior to ignition, to receive their acreage allocation based on the day’s weather forecast.

These fires are not allowed before 10 AM or after 3 PM. The burner must not add material to an existing fire or allow the flame front of an existing fire to burn after 3 PM.

Double Crop Stubble Fires

The permissible burn season for Double Crop Stubble fires runs from June 1 through August 31.

Double Crop Stubble fires are agricultural fires set to dispose of grain stubble from agricultural land where both grain and vegetable crops are harvested during the same calendar year. These fires must be permitted by the local public fire official with jurisdiction and must be deemed necessary for removing the grain stubble and straw before a field vegetable crop can be planted. No fires shall take place before 10 AM, and all material to be burned must be free of visible surface moisture. Notification of these burns and notification fee payments must be sent to the Air District prior to burning.

Range Management Fires

The permissible burn season for Range Management fires runs from July 1 through April 30.

Range Management fires are agricultural fires set to remove unwanted vegetation from areas where commercially raised animals such as horses, cattle, and sheep graze and feed. Range Management fires must be set or allowed by the State Director of Forestry, or public fire official with local jurisdiction. Brush to be burned must have been felled, crushed, or uprooted with mechanical equipment - or dried - at least six months prior to burning, if this is determined to be feasible by the State Director of Forestry or public fire official. Unwanted trees over six inches in diameter must be felled prior to burning and dried for a minimum of six months. Notification of these burns and notification fee payments must be sent to the Air District prior to burning.

Any Range Management fire that is expected to exceed 10 acres in size, or that burns piled vegetation cleared or generated from more than 10 acres of land is regulated as a Wildland Vegetation Management fire and is allowed year-round. These fires are subject to the prescribed burning requirements in the Air District’s Regulation 5, Sections 401.15 and 408. These fires cannot be set without an Air District-approved Smoke Management Plan, which must be submitted to the Air District at least 30 days in advance of the planned burn and must be approved prior to burning. An acreage burning allocation must also be received from the Air District each day prior to ignition.

Stubble Fires

The permissible burn season for Stubble fires runs from September 1 through December 31.

Stubble fires are agricultural fires set for the purpose of disposal of stubble and straw. These fires must be set or allowed by the local public fire official and must be deemed necessary to maintain and continue the growing of field crops as a gainful occupation. All straw and vegetation to be burned must be dry, and fires are subject to burn acreage limitations and fuel moisture requirements. Burners must notify the Air District by calling (415) 749-4600, and fee payments must be received prior to burning. An acreage burning allocation must also be received from the Air District each day prior to ignition for open burning occurring in Sonoma County.

Crop Replacement Fires

The permissive burn season for Crop Replacement fires runs from October 1 through April 30.

Crop Replacement fires are agricultural fires set for the purpose of establishing an agricultural crop on previously uncultivated land or in a location that formerly contained another type of agricultural crop. These fires must be set or allowed by the public fire official with local jurisdiction. Notification of these burns and notification fee payments must be sent to the Air District prior to burning.

Any Crop Replacement fire set for the purpose of establishing an agricultural crop on previously uncultivated land that is expected to exceed 10 acres in size, or burn piled vegetation cleared or generated from more than 10 acres of land, is regulated as a Wildland Vegetation Management fire and is allowed year-round. These fires are subject to the prescribed burning requirements in the Air District’s Regulation 5, Sections 401.15 and 408. These fires cannot be set without an Air District-approved Smoke Management Plan, which must be submitted to the Air District at least 30 days in advance of the planned burn and must be approved prior to burning. An acreage burning allocation must also be received from the Air District each day prior to ignition.

Flood Debris Fires

The permissive burn season for Flood Debris fires runs from October 1 through May 31.

Flood Debris fires are agricultural fires set for the purpose of removing wood and vegetation debris deposited by floodwaters. These fires must be set or allowed by the public fire official having jurisdiction and must be necessary for the continuing or maintaining of agriculture as a gainful occupation. Notification of these burns and notification fee payments must be sent to the Air District prior to burning.

Orchard Pruning and Attrition Fires

The permissive burn season for Orchard Pruning and Attrition fires runs from November 1 through April 30.

Orchard Pruning and Attrition fires are agricultural fires set for the purpose of disposing of periodic prunings or attrition losses from fruit trees, nut trees, vineyards, and cane fruits. These fires are limited to materials grown on-site and must be set or allowed by the public fire official having jurisdiction. Items like feed or fertilizer containers, finished or treated wood, and plastic or rubber products are not allowed to be burned. These fires must be necessary for maintaining and continuing the growing of fruit trees, vineyards, and cane fruits as a gainful occupation. Notification of these burns and notification fee payments must be sent to the Air District prior to burning.

Forest Management Fires

The permissible burning season for Forest Management fires runs from November 1 through April 30.

Forest Management fires are set for the purpose of removing forest debris and for other forest-related activities, such as timber operations and forest protection practices. These fires must be set or allowed by a public fire official having jurisdiction. Notification of these burns and notification fee payments must be made to the Air District prior to burning.

Any Forest Management fire that is expected to exceed 10 acres in size, or that burns piled vegetation cleared or generated from more than 10 acres of land, is regulated as a Wildland Vegetation Management fire and is allowed year-round. These fires are subject to the prescribed burning requirements in the Air District’s Regulation 5, Sections 401.15 and 408. These fires cannot be set without an Air District-approved Smoke Management Plan, which must be submitted to the Air District at least 30 days in advance of the planned burn and must be approved prior to burning. An acreage burning allocation must also be received from the Air District each day prior to ignition.

Check with local fire agencies

Prospective burners must check with their local fire agencies and CAL FIRE for local permitting and fire safety requirements. CAL FIRE units may have additional restrictions in place, so please contact the local CAL FIRE station in your community.

Contact Us

Compliance & Enforcement
Compliance Assistance

415.749.4999

Contact Us

Spare the Air Status
No Wood Burning
Spare the Air Status
  • Wednesday,
    8/12

    No Spare the Air Alert in Effect

Last Updated: 6/30/2020