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March 2, 2021

Cal Fire suspends burn permits in Monterey, San Benito counties

Suspension bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris

CENTRAL COAST — Significant fire weather is being forecasted in many parts of the state, including Red Flag Warnings across much of southern California.

With the lack of meaningful precipitation across much of the central coast, Cal Fire has suspended all burn permits within the State Responsibility Area and Local Responsibility Areas under contract with Cal Fire in Monterey and San Benito counties.

The suspension took effect Jan. 14 and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris. It will remain in place until conditions abate.

“2020 saw over 4 million acres burn in California. The lack of precipitation reminds us that the public cannot let their guard down. The recent vegetation fires in San Benito and Monterey counties showcase the importance of defensible space,” said Reno DiTullio Jr., Cal Fire San Benito-Monterey Unit Chief. “Please protect your life and property, as well as the lives of firefighters, by creating and maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of defensible space.”

Since Jan. 1, 2021, Cal Fire and firefighters across the state have already responded to over 75 wildfires that have burned over 50 acres. 

“We can’t predict when and where a wildfire will start, but all of us can prepare,” DiTullio said. 

Cal Fire asks residents to be prepared for wildfires, including maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of defensible space around every home. 

Tips to help prepare homes and properties include: 

  • Clear all dead or dying vegetation 100 feet around all structures;
  • Landscape with fire-resistant/drought-tolerant plants; and
  • Find alternative ways to dispose of landscape debris, like chipping or hauling it to a biomass energy facility. 

The department may issue restricted temporary burning permits if there is an essential reason due to public health and safety. 

Agriculture, land management, fire training and other industrial-type burning may proceed if a Cal Fire official inspects the burn site and issues a special permit. 

Anyone burning under any special permit must also check with the Monterey Bay Air Resources District for additional regulations and requirements, Cal Fire said.

The suspension of burn permits for residential landscape debris does not apply to campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property. 

Campfires may be permitted if the campfire is maintained in such a manner as to prevent its spread to the wildland. A campfire permit can be obtained at local fire stations or online at PreventWildfireCA.org.

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