Residential Allowable Burning
Updated January 11, 2013
IS RESIDENTIAL BACKYARD BURNING ALLOWED IN PLACER COUNTY?
In Placer County, residential burning is allowed, in a burn pile, at a single or two family residences under specific conditions. All burning must be done in a pile as burn barrels/containers were eliminated in 2004.
WHAT CAN BE BURNED?
Residential burning is defined as burning of dry vegetation originating from property, limited to the following natural vegetation (with NO DIRT):
- dry trees and trimmings
- dry brush/shrubs
- dry leaves
- dry pine needles
- dry grasses and forbs
- dry plants and flowers
- dry weeds
- dry vines
The burning of lawn clippings is prohibited.
Do not burn oleanders or poison oak as the smoke can be hazardous.
Know what is in your burn pile as you are responsible if illegal materials are burned.
ARE THERE ANY ALTERNATIVES TO BURNING IN PLACER COUNTY?
The Air District encourages the use of alternatives instead of burning. Using an alternative to burning can be an excellent way to dispose of the annual growth of vegetation and to also eliminate nuisance smoke.
WHEN CAN I BURN?
Burning is allowed only on a permissive burn day and in those areas of Placer County that allow burning.
- For the Greater Auburn Area (within 12 miles) (or for cell phones) - 530-889-6868, or
- All other areas of Placer County (land lines only) - 1-800-998-BURN (2876) toll-free
- The Air District has established a policy in making federal holidays no burn days in Placer County.
- If you live next to a SCHOOL, DAY CARE, PLAYGROUND, BALL FIELD, etc, consider burning ONLY when children or students are not present.
- On days when the fire danger is increased, the Air District works very closely with local fire officials to include their information in the burn day message.
DO I NEED A BURN PERMIT?
An Air District Burn Permit is not required for residential burning, however a fire agency burn permit may be required. Contact your local fire agency before you burn at your residence to find out their requirements.
Information on CAL FIRE’s Burn Restrictions and Burn Permits can be found at their website here.
Burning on or at a vacant lot, parcel or a business is not considered residential burning and requires a burn permit from the Air District, if not otherwise prohibited.
ARE THERE ANY AREAS OF PLACER COUNTY WITH BURNING RESTRICTIONS?
The following areas in Placer County have additional requirements with regards to burning.
- City of Auburn (Burn permits are required from November 1st to May 31st. Burning on a burn day can only be from 8 am until dark.)
- Granite Bay (Burn permits are required year round. Burning on a burn day can only be from 8 am until 5 pm, and during the month of May from 8 am until 7 pm. Easter is a no burn day.)
The following cities and locations do not allow burning:
Many larger developments in Placer County have no burning through the land development process where burning has been restricted through Codes, Covenants, and Restrictions, CC&Rs.
CAN I USE A BURN BARREL/CONTAINER?
On January 1, 2004 the California Air Resources Board’s Toxic Control Measure - Outdoor Residential Waste Burning became effective. This measure prohibits the use of a burn barrel and the burning of cardboard and paper for disposal, however non-glossy cardboard and non-glossy paper can still be used to start a fire. The community of Iowa Hill was granted an exemption in Placer County and can continue to use their burn barrels and burn clean, dry non-glossy paper as there is no garbage service at this time.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MATERIALS THAT ARE ILLEGAL TO BURN?
- Paper and cardboard (See the California Air Resources Board Web site for more information.)
- Lawn clippings
- Construction/demolition debris
- Metal and cans
- Tar paper
- Garbage or rubbish
- Asphalt shingles
- Plastics and glass
These are some of the materials which are illegal to burn. Smoke from burning them can contain harmful chemicals, which may cause illness.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT DRYING TIMES FOR VEGETATION?
Material and Size Required Drying Times
- Fine prunings/cuttings less than 3” diameter 15 days minimum
- Prunings, brush, small branches 3” to 6” 3 to 6 weeks
- Trees, stumps and large branches greater than 6” 6 weeks minimum
Stumps or vegetation greater than 12” diameter, at the cut end, shall not be included in the burn unless they are split in half and free of dirt.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION TO KNOW BEFORE BURNING!
- All vegetation must be DRY and reasonably free from dirt.
- Before it rains, cover your burn pile with a tarp to keep it dry.
- If you burn pile is wet, let it dry before burning.
- Only burn vegetation that can be reasonably burned before the next day.
- Avoid causing a smoke nuisance, by curtailing your burning when it is drifting to neighbors or nearby businesses.
- CAL FIRE has put together an educational fact sheet on safety when burning vegetation.
- The District has issued numerous advisories regarding the requirements for open burning. These advisories can be reviewed on the District website.