What is a burn permit?
A burn permit grants the permittee permission to perform open burning on permissive-burn days. These permits specify the day(s), time, and site at which burning may occur, as well as the type and amount of material to be burned. Burn permits may be issued for multiple types of burning, including: agricultural burning, fire hazard prevention, fire-fighting training, marsh management, range management, flood debris, and forest management.
What can be burned?
Dry, natural vegetation, grown on the property, no household trash or garbage can be burned outdoors at residences.
Burning trash, garbage, plastic, and treated lumber is not allowed by local Air Quality Management Districts.
Keep in mind as well, that there are alternatives to burning that can be considered, these may include:
- Chipping/grinding plant material and disking the soil, or
- Chipping/grinding plant material for composting on-site or at a facility licensed to conduct composting, or
- Removing all waste material and transportation to a facility capable of handling it properly
It is vital to be aware that residents will likely be concerned about any burns following our devastating wildfires in Northern and Southern California. Please be considerate, cautious and responsible when conducting agricultural burns.
Agricultural burning is any open outdoor fire used in agricultural operations to reduce waste produced solely from 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
Agricultural waste is unwanted plant material produced wholly from agricultural operations, such as
- Trees and tree trimmings
- Grass, weeds and trimmings from windbreaks in or adjacent to fields in cultivation or being prepared for cultivation
- Vegetation being cleared from presently uncultivated or ungrazed land to establish an agricultural operation
To qualify for an agricultural burn permit the following must pertain: The fire must be used for the purpose of initiating, continuing or maintaining agriculture as a gainful occupation. Fuels are limited to materials grown on site and shall not include feed or fertilizer containers, finished or treated wood, plastic or rubber products, plumage, hides, fur, offal or fecal material or refuse from plant or animal processing other than from initial crop harvesting, pruning, or attrition of fruit and nut trees, vine and cane crops. Trash may never be burned.
If it didn’t grow on your property, you can’t burn it.
When can you burn?
Burning permits are only valid on “Permissive Burn Days” as determined by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD). To find out if it is a Burn Day, visit the (BAAQMD) website.
Even if a burn permit has been issued and it is a permissive burn day, burns should not be initiated until all conditions are assessed so the burn will have the least amount of adverse impacts as possible.
Open burning shall be permitted from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. daily.
Do not add more vegetation to the fire after 3 P.M.
All fires shall be completely extinguished before dusk each day.
How do I obtain a burn permit?
In order to conduct a legal open burn, you need to obtain a burn permit from E.C.C.F.P.D. In addition, you must complete all requirements set forth by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD).
Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD)
- The BAAQMD enforces regulations specifying when, where and what can be burned. For detailed information about open burning, burn permits, applicable fees and burn pile requirements, please contact the BAAQMD at (415) 749-4600, BAAQMD - Open Burn Webpage
- Additional information can be found at the BAAQMD - Open Burn Information Page
- In order to obtain a burn permit, submit a completed Open Burn Application to E.C.C.F.P.D. - Fire Prevention Division. All documents must be completed in full, and payment submitted before a permit application can be processed or issued.
- Submit your completed application along with permit fee payment of $440 to email@example.com.
We accept two forms of payment:
- Credit Card: Complete the Credit Card Authorization Form and send via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Check: Please make checks payable to East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (E.C.C.F.P.D)
Checks may be mailed to:
E.C.C.F.P.D – ATTN: Fire Prevention
150 City Park Way,
Brentwood, CA 94513
Once all necessary documentation and payment have been received an inspector will contact you to schedule an inspection of the site where you intend to conduct your burn.
Once your inspection has been completed and your burn permit is issued; on the day you intend to burn you are REQUIRED to...
- Check with B.A.A.Q.M.D, and confirm Burn Day Status restrictions for that day.
- Contact E.C.C.F.P.D at (925) 941-3330, to notify that you will be conducting a permitted open burn.
- A burn permit may be rescinded or suspended at all times of critical fire weather, as declared by the Fire Marshal.
- If you are not the legal owner of the property, you must get a written and signed letter from the owner to burn on the property.
- The burning operations authorized by a permit shall be attended by at least one competent adult at all times. This person shall have the means to summon help if needed.
- REMEMBER: YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for the fire and liable for any damage and suppression costs caused by your fire.
- The burning operations shall be confined within cleared fire breaks or barriers adequate to prevent it from escaping control. Adequate provisions shall be made for the rapid extinguishment of the fire. A minimum of one 4A rated fire extinguisher or other approved on-site fire-extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose or water truck, shall be available for immediate utilization.
- The material to be burned shall be regulated in size and number of piles to insure effective control by the number of persons tending the fire.
- Approved ignition devices shall be used. These include matches, road flares, propane lighters or torches, fuses, and drip torches. Use of burning tires or gasoline is not allowed.
- The smoke shall not cause a nuisance. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has rules to protect the air quality in East Contra Costa. Any outdoor fire where the smoke creates a nuisance for others is a violation of the air quality standards.
- Material to be burned must be thoroughly dried and reasonably free of dirt and trash. It should be loosely stacked or arranged to promote drying and good combustion. Guidelines for drying times are as follows:Six weeks for trees and large branchesThree weeks for pruning’s and small branchesTen days for wastes from field crops
- No fire shall be started or maintained when it is unsafe to do so, or because weather conditions are likely to contribute to a fire hazard, cause a hazard to a vehicle, be a nuisance, or cause excessive air pollution. Do not burn unless clearance and weather conditions are fire safe.
- Burning shall not be conducted during windy conditions or when winds exceed 15 mph or during any high air pollution advisory.
- Permit shall be kept at burn location.
- Agricultural Burn Permits are issued to entities which are zoned for agricultural purposes and employ agriculture-related personnel.
- Burning shall not present a health hazard, generate noxious or toxic fumes, or present a public nuisance.
- Prohibited materials shall not be burned. Prohibited materials (including but not limited to): non paper garbage from the processing, storage, service, or consumption of food; chemically treated wood; lead-painted wood; linoleum flooring, and composite counter-tops; tires; explosives or ammunition; oleanders; asphalt shingles; tar paper; plastic and rubber products, including bottles for household chemicals; plastic grocery and retail bags; waste petroleum products, such as waste crankcase oil, transmission oil, and oil filters; transformer oils; asbestos; batteries; anti-freeze; aerosol spray cans; electrical wire insulation; thermal insulation; polyester products; hazardous waste products such as paints, pesticides, cleaners and solvents, stains and varnishes, and other flammable liquids; plastic pesticide bags and containers; and hazardous material containers including those that contained lead, cadmium, mercury, or arsenic compounds.
A recreational fire is an outdoor fire that has a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height. The fire is for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth, or similar purpose. In Wildland Fire Areas, the maximum fuel area is 2 feet or less in diameter.