Burn Permits

As of May 10, 2021, CAL FIRE has suspended all burn permits within the State Responsibility Areas of Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Solano, Yolo, and Colusa counties. Also, as of May 10, 2021 the County of Sonoma Fire Prevention Division has placed the same open burning suspension in effect within unincorporated Sonoma County (including LRA) and will coordinate with CAL FIRE on lifting the burn suspension when conditions are safe.


A CalFire Burn Permit is required and you need a new one each calendar year. They are available online here.  In order to apply for the permit you will need to watch a 3 minute safety video.

The normal burn-season process (from around Nov 15th to around May 1st) is as follows:

Step 0) If required, get a Cal Fire burn permit

Step 1) Get an air quality notification form, fill it out and send it in (mail, fax, or email).

Step 2) Check the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) site to see if it is a burn day

Step 3) Notify local fire officials the day of the burn

—— Here are the details:

Step 0) Get a Cal Fire Permit. Apply for the permit online here.

Step 1) A Bay Area Air Quality Management District Burn Notification is required for any brush burning. This form is called the Open Burning Notification Form and you can request one by calling 415-749-4600. You can also find this form online at http://www.baaqmd.gov/permits/open-burn. Download the form here. NOTE: There is an annual fee associated with the filing of this form. The category for defensible space is “ hazard reduction”. For a normal hazard reduction fire notice, As of July 1, 2019 they will charge you $138. They have been waiving the fees for the 2017 burn areas. Note that the form is good for 12 months from the date of filing.

Step 2) Once you have sent in the burn notification and paid the fee, you need to call BAAQMD or check their web site at http://www.baaqmd.gov after 3pm the day prior to the burn to see if burning is allowed for our area - i.e there is no Spare the Air in effect for the North bay. Call them at 1-800-792-0787 to hear the recorded message. The recorded message may say that if you are in a CA SRA area (we are) that Cal Fire must inspect your burn piles. This does not currently apply to homeowner burning in our area.

Step 3) On the day of your burn you must notify the county fire dispatch at REDCOM that you will be burning at 1-707-565-1700. They will ask for your location and get a contact number.

Note that as outlined in the permit, brush should be dried a minimum of 60 days before burning so that it does not create excessive smoke. Follow the rules, BAAQMD can fine you if your are cited!

Burn safely! If your burning spreads out of control and damages someone else's property you may be liable!

The details on timing and pile size are on the back of the BAAQMD Burn Notification form. In addition we offer these tips:

  • Only dry, natural, vegetative material such as brush and tree trimmings that originated on the property may be burned. 
  • No burning before 10am for air quality reasons, and last additions to the burn pile 2 hours before sunset
  • We suggest piles no larger than four feet in diameter. Cal fire burn permits (when required) specify this size for residential burning. If you have more than that to burn, feed it onto your 4 foot burn pile. Piles can be larger, but be aware they are harder to control. See size limits on the back of the BAAQMD burn form.
  • Provide ten feet of clearance around the pile by removing all material that will burn, down to bare mineral soil.
  • Have a water source on hand - a garden hose or a minimum of a five gallon backpack, pump type water extinguisher.
  • A responsible adult needs to be in attendance at all times.
  • NEVER burn on windy days.

See this Cal Fire Page for more info on burning safely

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