The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has announced the enactment of a burn suspension in Sonoma County, beginning at 12:01 AM Monday, May 10, 2021, which bans all outdoor burning.
According to CAL FIRE, California is entering its second consecutive dry year and is bracing for what could be another devastating wildfire season. While wildfires are a natural part of California’s landscape, the fire season in California and across the West is starting earlier and ending later each year. Climate change is considered a key driver of this trend. Warmer spring and summer temperatures, reduced snowpack, and earlier spring snowmelt create longer and more intense dry seasons that increase moisture stress on vegetation and make forests more susceptible to severe wildfire.
The increasing fire danger posed by dead grass and hotter, drier conditions in the region is prompting CAL FIRE to suspend all burn permits for outdoor residential burning within the State Responsibility Areas of Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Solano, Yolo and Colusa counties. This suspension takes effect Monday May 10, 2021, and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris such as branches and leaves.
Consistent with Sonoma County Code Section 13-72.1, the County of Sonoma Fire Prevention Division has placed the same open burning suspension in effect within unincorporated Sonoma County (including LRA) and will coordinate with CAL FIRE on lifting the burn suspension when conditions are safe. The burn suspension applies to all unincorporated areas within Sonoma County.
The burn suspension includes all open burning, though agricultural, forest management, fire training, and other industrial type burning may proceed if a CAL FIRE official has inspected the area and issued a permit in the SRA or by the local fire chief in the LRA.
The burn suspension helps by allowing a quick fire agency response to all fires observed after May 10, 2021, as they are assumed to be uncontrolled fires.
Although all fires cannot be prevented through a burn suspension, their numbers can be significantly reduced. Along with CAL FIRE, County of Sonoma Fire Prevention reminds everyone that it is each individual’s responsibility to help prevent fires that destroy lives, property and our wildlands.
The burn suspension also helps prevent smoke impacts to the general public. Burn restrictions will remain in effect until CAL FIRE declares the end of fire season.
Anyone responsible for open burning without a valid written exemption from the burn suspension may be subject to a citation, fines, and the cost of the fire agency response to extinguish the fire.