Burning has been a tool used in agriculture for many years. It has been used to control weeds, pests and dispose of waste materials. Alternatives have been developed in some instances but additional research is needed to develop techniques that may completely eliminate the need for open burning.

This plan was developed with the understanding that alternatives to open burning will be used in all possible cases, and that burning will be used only as a last resort. Without the development and utilization of alternatives, this plan will not reduce the quantity of air contaminants discharged into the atmosphere, but will only aid in the dispersion and dilution of them.


In accordance with Section 41863 of the California Health and Safety Code, each District in the State shall adopt an implementation plan consistent with the Agricultural Burning Guidelines. Local authorities, within each basin, may jointly adopt an implementation plan for their combined areas.

The air pollution control district shall enforce these rules and regulations.

ARTICLE I - Definitions

  1. "Board" means the State Air Resources Board, or any person authorized to act on its behalf.
  2. "District" means the Lassen County Air Pollution Control District.
  3. "Designated agency" means any agency designated by the Board as having authority to issue agricultural burning permits. The U.S. Forest Service, the California Department of Forestry, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service are so designated within their respective areas of jurisdiction.
  4. "Permit" means an agricultural burning permit issued pursuant to the Lassen County Air Pollution Control District's Rules and Regulations.
  5. "Agricultural burning" means open outdoor fires used in agricultural operations in the growing of crops or raising of fowl or animals, forest management, range improvement, wildlife vegetation management, in improvement of land for wildland and game habitat, disease or pest prevention, or the maintenance of a system for delivery of water used in agricultural operations (Health and Safety Code Sec. 39011).
  6. "Open Burning in agricultural operations in the growing of crops or raising of fowl or animals" means:
    1. The burning in the open of materials produced wholly from operations in the growing and harvesting of crops or raising of fowl or animals for the primary purpose of making a profit, or instruction by an institution; and purpose of educational institution; and
    2. In connection with operations qualifying under subdivision 1:
      1. the burning of grass and weeds in or adjacent to fields in cultivation or being prepared for cultivation; and
      2. the burning of material not produced wholly from such operations, but which are intimately related to the growing or havesting of crops and which are used in the field, except as prohibited by district regulations. Examples are fertilizer and pesticide sacks or containers, where the sacks or containers are emptied in the field.
  7. "Range improvement burning" means the use of open fires to remove vegetation for wildlife, game or livestock habitat or for the initial establishment of an agricultural practice on previously uncultivated land.
  8. "Forest management burning" means the use of open fires as part of a forest management practice, to remove forest debris. Forest management practices include timber operations, silvicultural practices or forest protection practices.
  9. "Wildland vegetation management burning" means the use of prescribed burning conducted by a public agency, or through a cooperative agreement or contract involving a public agency to burn land predominantly covered with chaparral (as defined in Title 14, California Administrative Code, Section 1561.11), trees, grass, or standing brush and includes fire hazard reduction burning.
  10. "Prescribed Burning" means the planned or unplanned application of fire to vegetation or lands selected in advance of such application, where any other of the purposes of the burning are specified in the definition of agricultural burning as set forth in Health and Safety Code Section 39011.
  11. "Timber operations" means cutting or removal, or both, of timber or other forest vegetation.
  12. "Brush treated" means that the material to be burned has been felled, crushed or uprooted with mechanical equipment, or has desicated with herbicides, or is dead.
  13. "SILVICULTURAL" means the establishment, development, care and reproduction of stands of timber.
  14. A "PERMISSIVE-BURN" day means any day on which agricultural burning is not prohibited by the Board.
  15. A "NO-BURN" day means any day on which agricultural burning is prohibited by the Board or the local district.
  16. "APPROVED IGNITION DEVICE" includes those instruments or materials that will ignite agricultural waste without the production of black smoke which exceeds the local or state air quality standards. This would include such items as liquid petroleum gas, butane, propane, or diesel oil burners, flares, and petroleum fuel boosters but does not include the use of tires, tar paper, oil or other similiar materials.


  1. A notice as to whether the following day is a permissive-burn day, or a no-burn day, or whether the decision will be announced the following day, shall be provided by the California Air Resources Board at 1500 (3:00 pm) daily. If the decision is made the following day, it shall be based on meteorological criteria for regulating agricultural burning. These notices will be transmitted to the general public by announcement over local radio stations.
  2. Agricultural burning is prohibited on no-burn days, except as specified in Article III, and in Article V, 5.2A.
  3. Upon request from a permittee through a disignated agency, seven days in advance of a specific range improvement burn, forest management burn, or wildland vegetation management burn, at any elevation below 6,000 feet (msl), a permissive burn or no-burn notice will be issued by the State Board up to 48 hours prior to the date scheduled for the burn. Without further request, a daily notice will continue to be issued until a permissive-burn notice is issued.
  4. Notwithstanding subdivision (C) of this section, the State Board may cancel permissive-burn notices that have been issued more than 24 hours in advance if the cancellation is necessary to maintain suitable air quality.
  5. A permissive-burn or no-burn advisory outlook will be available up to 72 hours in advance of burn specified in subdivision (C) of this section.


  1. Open burning in agricultural operations in the growing of crops or raising of fowl or animals or disease and pest prevention at altitudes above 3,000 feet mean sea level (msl) is exempt from the Agricultural Burning Implementation Plan.
  2. Agricultural burning in areas at altitudes above 6,000 feet (msl) is exempt from the Agricultural Burning Implementation Plan.
  3. Burning of agricultural related items such as empty pesticide containers and toxic fertilizer bags, may be permitted, by the Air Pollution Control Officer, on no-burn days. Burning will be done in accordance with stated burning preparations and considerations for fire danger.
  4. The Air Pollution Control Officer may allow, by special permit, agricultural burning on a no-burn day, if denial of such permit would threaten imminent and substantial economic loss or cause hazard to life and/or property. This exception may include fires from an unplanned ignition. The applicant shall submit in writing, on form provided, his reasons for the exception. The Air Pollution Control Officer shall limit the amount of acreage to be burned by special permit on no-burn days and only authorize burning when downwind metropolitan areas are forecasted by the Board to achieve the ambient air quality standards.


  1. No person shall knowingly set or permit any open burning operation on days within a period prohibited by the California Air Resources Board or the District.
  2. Penalty- Any violation of the agricultural burning requirements stated in these procedures is a misdemeanor, under Section 42400 of the California Health and Safety Code, punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or both, and the cost of putting out the fire. Every day, during any portion of which such violation occurs, constitutes a seperate offense.
  3. Procedures
    1. Open burning
      1. complaint received or burning observed.
    2. If violation exists
      1. action taken
        1. obtain all pertinent information for report: name, address, location of burn, material, wind direction, description of fire and smoke, statements made by subject, witnesses, photos if possible.
        2. issue citation to appear (Section Penal Code 836.5) or notice of violation, at the discretion of the enforcement officer.


  1. No person shall knowingly set or permit agricultural burning unless he has a valid permit from the designated agency in the area where the burn will take place.
  2. A permit shall not be issued to an applicant unless information is provided as required by the designated fire protection agency for fire protection purposes.
  3. A permit shall not be issued to an applicant unless information is provided as required by the District.
  4. All material to be burned shall be reasonabley free of dirt, soil, and excess moisture.
  5. Wherever possible, wastes shall be piled or windrowed in such a manner as to burn with maximum possible heat density and minimum smoke.
  6. All burning shall be ignited as rapidly as practicable within applicable fire control restrictions.
  7. All wastes shall be free of tires, tar paper, construction debris, or other types of rubbish likely to cause excessive smoke or obnoxious odors.
  8. Special consideration shall be given to burning operations confined to narrow inland river valleys where smoke containment may be restricted within the river basin and greatly decrease the prevailing visibility.
  9. All materials to be burned shall be ignited with an approved ignition device.

  10. A permit shall not be valid for any day in which burning is prohibited by the designated fire control agency having jurisdiction over the site of the burn for the purpose of fire control or prevention.
  11. A permit shall be valid for only those days which agricultural burning is not prohibited by the Board or the District.
  12. Open outdoor fires must be controlled to such an extent as is technically and economically feasible to meet all Federal and State air quality standards pertaining to air pollutants created by open burning operations.
  13. Material shall not be burned unless it has been allowed to dry for the following minimum time periods:
    1. Open burning in agricultural operations
      1. Dry ceral: 0 days
      2. Prunings and small branches: 3 weeks
      3. Large branches (6 inches and larger) and trees: 8 weeks
    2. Range improvement burning
      1. Treated brush: at least 6 months prior to the burn if economically and technically feasible.
      2. Unwanted trees: 3 months
      3. All unwanted trees over six inches in diameter shall be felled and dried prior to the burn.
    3. Forest management burning
      1. As required by designating agency issuing the permit.
    4. Wildland vegetation management burning
      1. As required by designating agency issuing the permit.
  14. The Air Pollution Control Officer may restrict burning to selected permitees on disignated burn days if total tonnage to be ignited would discharge a volume of contaminants into the atmosphere sufficient to cause state ambient air quality standards to be exceeded.
  15. Maximum care must be taken to keep smoke from drifting into populated areas.
  16. Permitee should not burn when winds exceed 20 miles per hour or when weather conditions are unsafe to burn.
  17. All fires in any agricultural burning operation shall be started only on burn days, except as permitted under Articles III and V.


  1. Between January 1 and May 31, range improvement burning may be conducted by permit on a NO-BURN DAY, provided that more than 50% of the land has been brush treated or that live moisture content is as comparatively low. If the burn is to be done primarily for improvement of wildlife or game habitat, the Department of Fish and Game may recommend the amount of brush treatment required. Notwithstanding the provisions in Subdivision A of this section, the Board may prohibit range improvement burning during the period designated by the District, if in the opinion of the Board, such prohibition is required for the maintenance of suitable air quality.
  2. If the burning is to be done primarily on private land for improvement of land for wildlife and game habitat, no permit shall be issued unless the applicant has filed with the District a statement from the Department of Fish and Game, certifying that the burn is desireable and proper.
  3. The brush shall be treated at least six months prior to the burn if economically and technically feasible.


  1. The public has been accustomed to obtaining burning permits from the various fire protection agencies. There are stations strategically located in most areas, and it would be logical to designate these agencies as the person to issue the permits for agricultural burning. These agencies would also be in the position to coordinate air quality control criteria as well as fire protection criteria that would relate to the agricultural burning.

    The burning permit shall be prepared in sufficient copies to provide information to the various agencies of concern. The permitee shall have his copy available for inspection at the burn site. This procedure will minimize any charges of burning without a permit.

  2. In order to provide for proper control of the agricultural burning, a seperate permit shall be obtained for each burning operation as well as for each different burn site. A burning operation may extend over several days, but it must be the same type of material and on the same burn site.

  3. The permit shall be issued for the length of time necessary to complete the burning operation. The permitee shall contact the local fire protection agency prior to each day's burn to determine if it is an authorized burn day, as well as informing them that a burn is about to take place.

  4. The application for a burning permit shall be reviewed by the issuing agency. If the burn is likely to cause a nuisance, or the request is not consistent with agricultural burning, the permit shall not be issued until approval is obtained from the Air Pollution Control District. A nuisance might be caused if the location of the burn site and the direction of the prevailing winds will direct the air contaminants toward an adjacent residential area.

  5. Each permit issued pursuant to these proceedings shall bear a statement of warning containing the following word or words of like or similiar import:
  6. Burning permits will be issued by the designated fire control agency having jurisdiction in the area of the proposed burn and shall state thereon the location and specific objective of the burn project, the acreage or tonnage, type and arrangement of the vegetation to be burned, directions and distances to nearby receptor areas, fuel condition, combustion and meteorological prescription elements developed for the project, projected schedule and duration of project ignition, combustion and burndown, specifications for monitoring and verifying critical project paramaters, and specifications for disseminating project information Agricultural burning permits may only be issued by the following designated agencies:







A. Either of the following methods may be used for the report

  1. The permitee shall be required to call the designating agency issuing the permit prior to each burn. The designated agency shall log the information required on the form provided by the Air Pollution Control District. The log shall be forwarded to the Air Pollution Control District at the end of each calendar quarter.

  2. Reporting cards shall be provided by the Air Pollution Control District to the designating agency for distribution. The permitee shall complete a reporting card for the material burned each day and mail the card within 48 hours.