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Placer County: Recent Restrictions on Open Burning


By: Placer County Air Pollution Control District

December 16, 2011 - Why is it a "burn" day? Why is it a "no burn" day? This may seem straightforward, but the unexpected good weather that we have been experiencing is poor for residential burning. If you are planning on burning, the Placer County Air Pollution Control District along with the Placer County Fire Agencies want to remind residents that residential burning is only allowed on declared "burn" days when it is fire safe and weather conditions can readily disperse smoke.

Our current weather trend has reduced the number of burn days we typically see at this time of year. Outside of a few days, with some variability in weather, most days have been no burn days. After the strong winds from a few weeks ago, many residents are continuing to clean up the downed limbs and vegetation and have become concerned about there being very few days when burning is allowed.

The warm dry weather along with strong inversions has contributed to the recent run of days when open burning is not allowed. These inversions act like a lid by not allowing smoke to fully rise and disperse, even though there may be some ground wind. As weather systems begin to break through, as the recent rain has, we would expect to have more burn days.

In the meantime, on wintertime burn days, smoke does not disperse readily. By early evening, it is hanging low and traveling just under the night time inversions, sometimes causing smoke impacts. It is important to burn during the warmest part of the day to allow the smoke to rise and disperse, and have the burn pile out by dark.

To find out daily if it is a burn day, residents who are within 12 miles of Auburn can call 530-889-6868. For residents outside of this area a toll-free number 1-800-998-2876 is also available to those calling from a Placer County landline.

When burning, it important to remember the following:

Check with your local fire agency for any burn permit requirements
Tarp your burn pile to keep it dry before it rains
Burn only when smoke is not impacting your neighbors
Burn only dry vegetation, free from dirt
Maintain a 10' clearance of flammable materials from around your burn pile
Never use flammable materials such as gasoline, to start a fire
The fire must be attended by a responsible adult at all times
Maintain a source of water and a long-handled shovel close by

There are a number of alternatives to burning in Placer County, including green waste pickup – available in some areas, and the Placer County Chipping Program. Chipping information is available at 530-889-0111 x3. More information is available at www.placer.ca.gov/apcd under Alternatives to Burning.

Burn permits are required for land-development, ditch, right-of-way, agricultural and forest-management burning and must be obtained through PCAPCD's office, 110 Maple Street, Auburn. For more information, contact the Air District at 530-745-2330.


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