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    Transition from a High Fire Season to a Winter Preparedness Level

    Information on Burn Permit Program

    On December 19, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department transitions from a High Fire Season to a Winter Preparedness Level. With this transition, the ban on permit burning within State Responsibility Areas (SRA) and Local Responsibility Areas (LRA) within the jurisdiction of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department has been lifted. Individuals with a valid burn permit may resume permitted burning in Santa Barbara County on permissive burn days. Please note: These permits are issued for burn piles only and are not intended for the burning of standing vegetation, which is considered prescribed burning and is only conducted by fire departments and land managers.

    The Santa Barbara County Fire Department issues permits for pile burns in these three categories: Agricultural, Hazard Reduction, and Residential Backyard. Prior to issuance of a permit, all burn sites and piles will be inspected by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department for compliance with the appropriate permit conditions. The permittee must contact the fire department prior to starting any permit burn. As a reminder, all burn permit holders are responsible to be compliant with all permit rules and guidelines. Property owners and permit holders could be held liable for any escaped burn on their property that requires fire department assistance. Non-compliance could result in citation and/or full cost recovery.

    The Santa Barbara County Fire Department and Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) work closely together to determine appropriate days for permit burning. The designation of a permissive burn day applies only to holders of current burn permits. It does not grant permission for any unpermitted burn activity. Burn days are determined by the time of year and the weather. Burning during the winter months when the fuel moisture levels are high and temperatures are low is preferred. Also, the ability of the smoke to mix with the atmosphere is critical. A high-pressure, stable condition is not recommended for burning due to the inability of the smoke to easily dissipate. Predicted high winds can also suspend burning. Burning is never allowed on Sundays or holidays. Each day, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department announces on a recorded phone line whether permit burning is allowed. The public can ascertain whether it is a permissive burn day by calling (805) 686-8177 or visiting the department website at www.sbcfire.com/permit-burning.

    Here are some safety tips and rules to keep in mind, all of which help minimize smoke and impacts to neighbors and surrounding areas:

    • Pile sizes for Hazard Reduction and Residential Backyard burns are limited to 6’ diameter, 4’ height
    • All green waste must be completely dry and free of trash or dirt
    • Green waste must originate on the property where burning occurs
    • Check the ignition times for your burn type and location:
      • 10am start time for all categories in the Santa Ynez Valley
      • 10am start time for all Residential Backyard burns countywide
      • 7am start time for Agricultural and Hazard Reduction outside of the Santa Ynez Valley
    • The burning of trash is never allowed (this includes rubber, plastic, construction materials, cannabis waste, or lawn trimmings or leaves)
    • Check hourly conditions and daily forecasts on APCD’s website: www.OurAir.org/todays-air-quality.

    Although the fire danger has decreased considerably, it is still possible to have wildfires during the winter months in Southern California. Santa Barbara County residents are encouraged to continue to reduce flammable vegetation around their structures, property, and roads. Through the Ready! Set! Go! Program, landowners have the opportunity to be educated about issues concerning defensible space and vegetation removal. For information on the Ready! Set! Go! Program, please log on to www.sbcfire.com.

    Santa Barbara County Fire Department
    Santa Barbara County Fire Departmenthttps://sbcfire.com/
    The Santa Barbara County Fire Department serves and safeguards the community from the impacts of fires, medical emergencies, environmental emergencies, and natural disasters through leadership, planning, education, prevention, code enforcement, and all-hazard emergency response.


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