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Backyard Burning

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Backyard Burning - The burn season is typically from December 1st - April 30th. 

Permit Fee is $55.  Permits can only be issued to the property owner.

Burning can only be done between the hours of 8-4.

Prohibition of backyard burning on parcels less than ½ acre except in areas where yard waste pick-up is not available. A waiver from the parcel size requirement can be granted at the discretion of the Air District.   This means we will not be issuing burn permits within the City unless the parcel is over ½ acre. However, we will issue a burn permit if you can obtain a waiver from the Air District.
Prohibition of backyard burning within 100 feet of any structure on an adjacent property. A waiver from this requirement can be granted at the discretion of the Air District.  We will only issue a burn permit if you can obtain a waiver from the Air District.

To request a waiver, call the Air District at (831) 647-9411, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. 
If you are able to obtain a waiver, you will need to present it to us when requesting a burn permit.  You can also visit their website for more information.  Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District's website.

For those allowed to burn within the City, you will need to obtain a Burn Permit ($50) from the Santa Cruz Fire Department and follow the department guidelines and the Air District's Guidelines for Backyard Burning of Vegetation, including calling 1-800-CAL-BURN (1-800-225-2876) to verify burn days. The recording is updated at 4:00 p.m. daily with the next day's burn status.  Permit must be on site at time of burn.


Recreational or Warming Fire

  • Allowed daily - unless there is high wildfire danger.
  • warming recreational fire is an outdoor fire, burning materials other than rubbish where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, barbeque grill or barbeque pit and has a total fuel area of 3 feet (914 mm) or less in diameter and 2 feet (610 mm) or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes.
  • Recreational Fires shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material.  Conditions which would cause a fire to spread within 25 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition.
  • Portable outdoor fireplaces shall be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and shall not be operated within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material.  Exception: Portable outdoor fireplaces used at one and two family dwellings.
  • Open burning; bonfires, recreational fires and use of portable outdoor fireplaces shall be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished. A minimum of one portable fire extinguisher complying with Section 906 with a minimum 4-A rating or other approved on-site fire –extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose or water truck, shall be available for immediate utilization.
  • There are no restrictions for the use of BBQ's or grills within City limits.  
  • Fires are not allowed on any City Beaches.