Burning Rules & Regulations



There are two types of burning allowed in Santa Cruz County regulated by the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control Board (www.mbuapcd.com). At any time should any fire escape your control, you will be held accountable and should expect to pay a fine for cost recovery. The two types are as follows:

Agricultural Burning – Permit Required

To qualify for an agricultural burn permit the following must pertain: The fire must be used for the purpose of initiating, continuing or maintaining agriculture as a gainful occupation. Fuels are limited to materials grown on site and shall not include feed or fertilizer containers, finished or treated wood, plastic or rubber products, plumage, hides, fur, offal or fecal material or refuse from plant or animal processing other than from initial crop harvesting, pruning, or attrition of fruit an nut trees, vine and cane crops.

If you live within the Pajaro Valley Fire District and wish to obtain a burn permit, you may come to the fire station and the Chief may issue you one at no charge, provided you meet the criteria set forth in the above stated paragraph.

Permits for agricultural burns typically will be issued as follows:

  • In State Responsibility Areas permits may be issued between the months of Dec.1 thru April 30 without an inspection, and possibly between April 30 thru Dec.1 for a two week period with an inspection (pending fire season weather).
  • In Local Responsibility Area permits may be issued for an entire year without an inspection

Backyard Burning – Permit Required

Burn Regulations News Release

The Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District requires all parties who wish to take part in backyard burning obtain a backyard burn permit through the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District. Pajaro Valley Fire District DOES NOT issue backyard burn permits. For more information on obtaining a backyard burn permit, please refer to the above PDF link or visit Monterey Bay Air Resources District.

Backyard burning season is regulated by the declaration of the end of fire season. Once deemed safe by Cal Fire, backyard burning will be allowed. The date that typically coincided with this is Dec. 1. Be sure to contact the proper authorities prior to burning to be certain that burn season has been open.

Backyard burning is for non-agricultural properties and permit persons to burn yard trimmings, clippings or pruning’s grown on their property. Under no circumstances are the burning of trash, processed or painted lumber, plastics or other non grown products allowed to be burned at any time.

All Types of Burning Must Abide by The Following Rules


  • Piles should be no larger that 4’x 4′
  • Water must be available and at the burn site
  • An adult shall be in attendance at all times
  • Burning shall be during daylight hours ONLY
  • Piles will be surrounded by a ten foot circle cut to bare mineral soil
  • Burning is allowed only on burn days referred to as “Yes” or “Permissive” burn days regulated by MBUAPCB. To find out if a day is a Yes or No burn day call: 1-800-CAL-BURN

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Pajaro Valley Fire Station
562 Casserly Rd
Watsonville, CA 95076
Office Tel 831.722.6188
Office Fax 831.722.7333