The Aptos/La Selva FPD Open Burning guidelines are based on Code references from both International Fire Code and ALSFPD Local Ordinance #1-13. Examples of types of Open Burning, and the regulations for these burns, are listed below. If you have additional questions regarding these requirements, please contact our Community Risk Reduction Division at 831-685-6690, ext. 115.
Open Burning (IFC 307.4)
Definition: Burning of Vegetation grown on ones property during burn season, on an approved burn day. Max size 4’ x 4’ x 4’. Clearance required 50’ to any building structure or property line. See regulations. (Permit required.)
Bonfire (IFC 307.4.1)
Definition: A wood fueled fire exceeding 4 feet in diameter. An outdoor fire utilized for ceremonial purposes. (IFC 302.1) A bonfire must not be contained within the confines of a pit. Clearance required 50’ to any building structure or property line or combustible materials. (Permit required and issued only to the owner of the burn site.)
Recreational Fire (IFC 307.4.2)
Definition: A wood or charcoal fueled fire not exceeding 2’ x 3’ contained in an earthen pit with sidewalls, fireplace, commercial grill, or device, which will contain the fire. Clearance required 30’ to any building structure, property line, or from a grass, grain, brush or forest covered area.
Portable Outdoor Fire Places (IFC 307.4.3 & ALSFD Local Ordinance 1-10 #5212)
Definition: Shall be operated used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Clearance required is 15 feet of a structure or combustible material. Openings in such devises shall be provided with an approved spark arrester, screen or door.
- EXCEPTION 1: When approved, unprotected openings in barbecues and grills necessary for proper function.
- EXCEPTION 2: Exemption for one and two family residents. “In one and two family dwellings the level of familiarity and control exercised by the building occupants is recognized as offsetting the hazards of using these devices.”
Open Flame Cooking Device/BBQ
Definition: A barbeque grill arrangement used for the sole purpose of cooking. Can’t be operated on combustible balconies or within 10 feet of combustible construction.
- EXCEPTION 1: Exemption for one and two family residents: “In one and two family dwellings the level of familiarity and control exercised by the building occupants is recognized as offsetting the hazards of using these devices.”
- EXCEPTION 2: Where buildings, balconies or decks are protected by an automatic sprinkler system.
- EXCEPTION 3: Where propane fuel container has a capacity of less than 2.5 pounds of water (small cylinder).
A permit is required for open burning for the purpose of recognized cultural or range or wildfire management practices, prevention and control of disease or pests, or a bonfire. (IFC 105.6.30 and IFC 307.2)
- Issuance of a permit for this type of open burning will be limited and issued on a case-by-case basis.
- Stand-by personnel and equipment may be required for permit issued burns at the expense of the permit holder.
- Stand-by personnel and equipment requirements will be based on the nature of the burn and determined at such time of permit application.
- If dispatched to a fire of this nature, crews will ensure a permit has been obtained.
- Where no permit can be produced, extinguishment of the fire shall be the course of action.
A permit is not required for recreational fires. (IFC 105.6.30 & ALSFD Local Ordinance 1-10 #5211) Recreational fires shall meet the following requirements:
- Recreational fires must be contained in an earthen pit with sidewalls, fireplace, commercial grill, or device, which will contain the fire.
- Recreational fire fuel arrangements shall not exceed 3 feet in diameter or 2 feet in height.
- Fires must be a minimum of 30 feet from a structure and/or combustibles.
- Fires must be attended until extinguished by an adult over 17 years of age.
- Only firewood or charcoal may be burned.
- Property owners must have knowledge of, and authorize, the activity.
- A minimum of one portable fire extinguisher with a minimum 4-A rating or other approved on-site fire extinguisher equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose or water truck, shall be available for immediate utilization.
- A fire contained within a barbeque grill arrangement used for the sole purpose of cooking is not a recreational fire.
An engine company officer may require recreational fires to be immediately extinguished when:
- Clearance to flammable vegetation does not exceed 30’
- Complaints are received via NetCom/911
- High winds are blowing
- A person 17 years or older is not present
- When public announcement is made that open burning is prohibited, or
- When, in his/her professional judgment, it is unsafe