The annual backyard burn season for burning natural vegetation from households in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties was opened on December 1, 2017 and is scheduled to close April 30, 2018.


Backyard Burning Regulations for 2017/2018

Burn Day Hotline 1-800-CAL-BURN (225-2876)

  • Smoke management (backyard burn) permits issued by the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District are now REQUIRED for all residential backyard burning in Santa Cruz County.
  • Backyard burning on parcels less that 1/2 acre are PROHIBITED except in areas where yard waste pick-up is not available.
  • Backyard burning within 100 feet of any structure on an adjacent property is PROHIBITED. A waiver from this requirement can be granted at the discretion of the Air District.

Click here for information on obtaining a Backyard Burn Permit from
Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District
(831) 647-9411

The following are requirements for a Backyard Burn Permit within the Scotts Valley Fire District:

  • A Single- or two family residence located on the property.
  • Property size is 1/2 acre or larger.
  • Burn pile is located more than 100 feet away from any residential or commercial structure on neighboring properties.
  • Burn pile contains ONLY vegetation that was grown on the property.
  • Vegetation in the burn pile is dry.
  • The material to be burned must be dry and reasonably free of visible surface moisture. Dried material is vegetation that has gone through a process of drying-out by allowing it to rest for a period of time after being cut, such that the moisture content is sufficiently low to ensure efficient combustion and minimize the amount of smoke emitted.
  • Branches and prunings 2 inches or less in diameter must dry for at least 30 days.
  • Branches and prunings more than 2 inches in diameter up to 6 inches in diameter must dry for at least 60 days.
  • Branches and prunings over 6 inches in diameter must dry for at least 180 days.
  • Burn pile DOES NOT include tree stumps, piled grass clippings, piled leaves, or piled conifer needles.

If you do not meet ALL of the above requirements, you may not be granted a backyard burn permit.
However, you may apply for a waiver by calling the Air District at (831) 647-9411

Additional Requirements

  • Backyard burning hours are from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. NO additional fuels may be added after 3:00 PM on any day, and ALL burns must be completely extinguished by 4:00 PM
  • Burn piles shall be no larger than 4-feet in diameter and 4-feet high.
  • All flammable material and vegetation must be cleared within 10-feet of the outer edge of the burn pile.
  • A water source and appropriate fire fighting tools (shovel, rake, hoe) must be at the burn site.