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Open Burning

IMPORTANT: If your burn escapes your control, CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY, before making any effort to extinguish the fire yourself.


Two air quality districts establish and enforce burning regulations within the Sonoma County Fire District (former Rincon Valley/Windsor/Russian River Fire Protection District boundaries):

Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD)
939 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 749-5000; fax (415) 928-0338

Covers all of Sonoma County Fire District (former Rincon Valley Fire Protection District and that portion of the former Windsor Fire Protection District bordered by Rancho Sotoyome and T8H/T9H lines (see map) and the eastern side of Eastside Road).

The Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District (NSCAPCD)
150 Matheson Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 433-5591

That portion of the former Windsor Fire Protection District that is north of the Rancho Sotoyome and T8H/T9H line and on the west side of Eastside Road.


Click here to see which air pollution district governs your property.


Bay Area Air Quality Management District

With very rare exceptions, there are two types of permissible open/control burning within the BAAQMD district—hazard reduction and orchard/vineyard attrition—and stringent conditions apply to each.

Hazard Reduction

Hazard reduction burning is allowed subject to the following conditions:

  • There is no other economically, ecologically, or logistically viable option for removing hazardous vegetation
  • Only natural vegetation or native growth may be burned
  • The amount of material from a single property cleared and burned annually is greater than 5 cubic yards

BAAQMD does not issue permits but does require a open burning form be completed and a fee be paid.

Property owners/agents who have had hazard reduction permits in the past are not required to renew their permit every year. They must, however, go to the BAAQMD website to complete a form and pay the fee.

Property owners/agents who have never been issued a hazard reduction permit must call for a fire department representative to inspect the burning site before burning takes place and a permit, approved by the fire department, is required. Call (707) 838-1170 to schedule an inspection.

Vineyard/Orchard Attrition

Vineyard/orchard attrition (prunings) burning is permitted subject to the following conditions:

  • Vineyard/orchard must be operated for commercial purposes (business license, tax returns, etc.)
  • Material to be burned must have grown at the site of the fire
  • Only the by-products (prunings) of the agricultural business may be burned

Click to reach the BAAQMD website for regulations, form, process, and payment information.

Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution District

The NSCAPCD requires you obtain a permit, before burning, from their office at 150 Matheson Street, Healdsburg. For specifics regarding types of permissive burning, permitting, etc., call their office (707) 433-5591.


Burn season is October 1—April 30, unless a “red flag day” or “burn ban” is implemented.


Once you have made the necessary notification/obtained the required permit, you must determine if it is a permissible burn day.

  • For Bay Area Air Quality Management District, call (800) 792-0787 or visit BAAQMD website
  • For Northern Sonoma County APD, call (707) 565-2876
  • You must notify Sonoma County Fire Dispatch (707) 565-1700 each day that you will be burning, before you commence burning.


Both the BAAQMD and the NSCAPCD determine permissible burn days based on air quality, not on the basis of fire safety. Therefore, it may be “permissible” to burn but not be safe to burn. Sonoma County Fire District has the authority to prohibit burning even on permissible burn days if weather or other conditions make it unsafe to burn.

Things to be aware of:  There are significant financial risks if you burn illegally–whether it’s what you’re burning or when–and/or the burn escapes your control.  They include the following:

  • A fine
  • All costs of emergency response to and extinguishment of the fire
  • Financial responsibility for the damage to any neighbor’s property
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