Santa Cruz County Backyard Burn Rules

Santa Cruz County allows residents to conduct "backyard burns" for the purposes of reducing fire danger during the fire season. The rules let you burn tree trimmings and brush during a limited part of the year, generally Dec 1 through April 30, but the actual dates can vary depending on fire risk.

Santa Clara County does not allow backyard burns of this kind.

Both counties allow other kinds of burns - agricultural, hazard reduction, and warming or ceremonial fires - but different rules govern those. Contact your local fire station and air quality control district for advice on those if needed.

As of 2014 there are two organizations that govern different aspects of backyard burns in Santa Cruz County:

This page documents the Santa Cruz County backyard burn regulations and rules. It is based on written and online documentation as well as conversations with Cal Fire and MBUAPCD personnel. It is a guide only, and both organizations actually control and enforce their own rules. Questions should be directed to your local fire station or MBUAPCD, and their answers override anything you read on this page in the event of a discrepancy.

Rules and notes from MBUAPCD:

Rules from Cal Fire: