During certain times of the year, when fire danger is high, residential hazard reduction burning of dead vegetation is unsafe. Homeowners should always check with their local CAL FIRE station and local air quality management agency before burning. 

Even if your county is marked as "burning allowed" on the burn status page, you must still verify that it is a permissive burn day in your area by contacting your local air quality management agency.  Contact information will be printed on your permit or may be found at the State Air Resources Board website.

All outdoor burning must be conducted in such a way as to prevent the smoke from creating a smoke nuisance. Burning wet materials or burning in large quantities produces smoke that lingers and can offend people in addition to significantly affecting air quality.

Know the Requirements

For hazard reduction burning in small 4-feet x 4-feet piles:

  • Maximum pile size 4 foot in diameter.
  • Clear all flammable material and vegetation within 10-feet of the outer
    edge of pile and down to the bare earth. 
  • Keep a water supply close to the burning site.
  • An adult should be in attendance with a shovel until the fire is out.
  • No burning shall be undertaken unless weather conditions (particularly
    wind) are such that burning can be considered safe.

No household trash or garbage can be burned outdoors at residences. To reduce the amount of smoke when burning, you should burn between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when smoke dispersion conditions are best. 

Consider Alternatives

  • Composting, mulching, chipping, natural decomposition, etc. are recommended alternatives to burning. Visit CalRecycle's composting and mulching page for more info.
  • Curbside Pickup
  • Many municipal landfills and green waste centers accept yard trimmings from residents and process them into compost and mulch. Contact your local solid waste department to learn about local yard trimming recycling options.
  • There are currently over 20 operating solid fuel biomass power plants located in counties throughout the State of California. View this CA State Biomass Facility Map.