Mendocino County

Air Quality Management District

Burn Information for Mendocino County

Winter Burning Season

Mendocino County is in 'Winter Burning' season. Burn permits are required by: Air Quality, CalFire, and local fire agencies. Burn hours are 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. only on permissive burn days.

The California Department of Forestry - State Responsibilty Area (SRA), and Fire Protection - Local Responsibilty Area (LRA), and/or the Air Quality Management District require a Burn Permit for all 'open outdoor burning' during 'Fire Season' on lands under their jurisdiction.

All residential and open outdoor burning require a burn permit and are allowed only on permissive burn days.

Contact your local Fire Agency or Air Quality for more information.


Burn responsibly and do not cause a smoke nuisance for your neighbors. Manage burns to reduce excessive smoke by keeping material dry and burning hot with visible flames. Never allow your burn piles to smolder overnight. Avoid burning when high pressure is forming and a visible inversion is evident.

Cooler temperatures and rainfall alone do not prevent fires from escaping control. Landowners are responsible for safely burning outdoors and maintaining control at all times. For tips on safe burning visit the CAL FIRE website at or check with your local fire agency.

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Open Burning Information

Open Burning of vegetation is allowed on Permissive Burn Days During Burn Season

Standard Air Quality Burn Permits Are $17

     Apply for a burn permit online:Online Application

     or Mail in the form: Mail Application

Always call the burn line for BURN DAY status. Call 463-4391.

Outside of Ukiah you may call toll free (800)-992-5441 and enter 4391 at the prompt.

Burn Seasons

Burn Ban - outdoor burning is prohibited

Please be aware of the 'Burn Ban' beginning approximately July 1 of each year and typically extends through the end of the 'Fire Season'. All burn permits issued for burning are SUSPENDED. Please do not burn.

Cal Fire and local fire agency burn permits are subject to temporary or permanent suspension due to critical fire weather conditions. Therefore, be aware of the countywide 'Burn Ban' of each year that may extend through the end of the declared fire season.

Fire Season - May 1 through approximately November 1

The California Department of Forestry - State Responsibilty Area (SRA), and Fire Protection - Local Responsibilty Area (LRA), and/or the Air Quality Management District require a Burn Permit for all 'open outdoor burning' during 'Fire Season' on lands under their jurisdiction.

Winter Burning Season - approximately November through April 30

The 'Winter Burning' season is declared by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and runs from about November through April 30 of each year.

The Local Fire Protection or the Air Quality Management District require a Burn Permit for all 'open outdoor burning' during the 'Winter Burning' season on lands under their jurisdiction.

  • Burn permits are required year round.

  • Open outdoor burning is only allowed on permissive burn days set by the Air Resources Board.

  • Only vegetative matter may be burned. The vegetation must have grown on the property.

  • Burn barrels cannot be used in Mendocino County.

  • READ the Burn Information Sheet that came with your permit

  • Burning related to property development requires a permit from the Air District.

  • Always call the burn information line before burning at 463-4391.

  • If you have any doubts about your need for a permit, call the District Office at (707) 463-4354.

  • All non- residential burning requires a permit.

  • All burns must be attended by a responsible adult.

  • Large burns require a Smoke Management Plan.

  • Piled Biomass Calculator (exit site).

Burning Preparations - The following conditions must be met:

   1. Materials must be approved combustibles only and reasonably free of soil and surface moisture from rainfall. (Vegetative Matter Only)

   2. Materials must be arranged to promote rapid combustion with minimum smoke production.

   3. Materials must be dried at least the minimum recommended length of time as follows:

     a. Trees and branches over 6 inches in diameter - 60 days.

     b. Prunings, brush and branches less than 6 inches in diameter - 15 days.

   4. Aerate leaves to dry them prior to burning. DO NOT BURN WET LEAVES!

   5. Burn piles are to be ignited as rapidly as possible to avoid smoke nuisance. If your smoke affects your neighbor, you can be held liable.

   6. All vegetation must be burned on the property where it was grown.

Burn Barrels are illegal in California

Burn barrels are not allowed for burning waste, including vegetation, at residences.

Fire Safety Requirements for Burn Piles

1.  Minimum 10-foot clearance from all flammable material.

2.  Adult in attendance with shovel until fire is Dead Out.

3.  Water supply at burning site.

4.  For the best possible burn, dry vegetative matter should be burned completely between the hours of 9:00 am and 3:00 pm in any single Burn Day.

Common Questions

  • What can I burn with a valid permit?

    'Brush, trees and vegetation burned on the property where grown'

    Burning of any milled lumber, paper, cardboard or other materials is illegal and can result in fines and possible legal actions.

  • Who decides it is a 'burn day' or a 'no burn day'?

    The State Air Resources Board, however the local Air District and Fire Agencies can suspend burning based on local conditions. Some major holidays are always designated no burn days.

  • What is an inversion and what what does it have to do with open burning?

    Inversions are the result of poor air circulation. Mendocino County has significant inversions on a regular basis.

  • Are all burn permits the same?

    All residential burn permits, if issued by a delegated fire agency, are the same, however they may have special conditions for your local area.

    There are several types of non-residential burn permits. Some agricultural permits can be issued by Fire Agencies, other larger burn permits can only be issued by the District. If you are planning a non-residential burn it is best to call the District.

For information about recycling and composting please visit the Mendocino County Recycling Guide from MSWMA

Burn Day Status

For todays burn day status please call 707-463-4391. .

Credit Card Payments

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Air Quality for Mendocino

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News / Advisories

Mendocino County enters Winter Burning Season. - Open burning is allowed only on permissive burn days with a valid burn permit.

Trader Joe's penalized $500,000 over refrigerant leaks - Owner and operators of systems using ozone depleting substances are required to perform leak repair and recordkeeping required under Title VI of the Clean Air Act for refrigeration equipment. Click Here for More Information

Air District Relaxes Portable Diesel Engine Enforcement - ARB has determined the standards for DPM may not be feasible. Click Here for More Information

The District Mission

  The mission of the Mendocino County Air Quality Management District is to protect and manage air quality, an essential public resource upon which the health of the community depends. 

  Mendocino County Air Quality Management District is one of 35 local Air Districts in California.

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