Open Burning

Is today a burn day?

Burn permit holders: Please call your local fire authority before burning.

Conditions may prohibit open burning even on days when air quality conditions do not.

What is a burn permit?

A burn permit is a document that 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, range improvement, forest management, and wildland vegetation management.

How do I apply for a burn permit?

Please contact your local fire authority. Although the SDAPCD works in conjunction with local fire agencies to regulate open burning, it cannot issue a burn permit directly.

Does SDAPCD regulate burning in my fireplace or fire pot?

SDAPCD does not currently prohibit burning in fireplaces, fire pots, fire rings, grills, or chimineas. Rule 101 specifically exempts from its provisions “[r]ecreational, ceremonial, and cooking fires, provided that clean dry fuel (limited to wood or charcoal), natural gas, propane, or cooking fuel is used”.

However, any fire that produces excessive smoke and/or odors could potentially be classified as a public nuisance.
Please see the Air Quality Complaints page for more information on public nuisance complaints.

Although it is not prohibited, wood burning in the home is a growing source of air pollution in San Diego County. 

Learn more
 about reducing pollution from wood smoke.

What is “Permissive-burn Day” or “Burn Day”?

A permissive-burn day is any day on which the District does not prohibit agricultural burning, prescribed burning and other permitted open burning. Please check the SDAPCD burn decision and contact the fire authority that issued your burn permit in order to determine if it is a burn day.

Where is open burning permitted?

Burn permits may be issued to sites in the San Diego Air Basin and the San Diego County portion of the Salton Sea Air Basin. However, local ordinances may prohibit open burning in your area. 

What is a Smoke Management Plan?

A Smoke Management Plan is a document submitted to the District by local land managers in order to minimize smoke impacts from prescribed burns. If a Smoke Management Plan is required, a standard burn permit must also be obtained.

Who is required to submit a Smoke Management Plan?

From the SDAPCD Burning Control Rule, Rule 101: “Prior to conducting or allowing prescribed burning for any project greater than 10 acres or estimated by the land manager to produce more than one ton of particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter of 10 microns or less, the land manager shall have a Smoke Management Plan approved in writing by the Air Pollution Control Officer.”

Learn more about the SDAPCD’s Smoke Management Program.

How do I submit a Smoke Management Plan?

If you are conducting a prescribed burn that requires a Smoke Management Plan, please fill out and email a Smoke Management Plan Application (Word or PDF ) to, or fax the application to 858-586-2759. Questions regarding the application can be directed to the SDAPCD Meteorology and Modeling Section at (858) 586-2769.

Am I in the San Diego Air Basin or the Salton Sea Air Basin?

Within San Diego County, there are actually two distinct air basins - the San Diego Air Basin and the Salton Sea Air Basin. As a result, it may be a permissive burn day in one part of San Diego County with no burning allowed in another area of San Diego County. Which air basin am I in?