Smoke Management Program

This page last reviewed August 3, 2011


California's Smoke Management Program addresses potentially harmful smoke impacts from agricultural, forest and range land management burning operations. To better understand the health impacts of smoke, please view "Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Health Officials." The legal basis of the program is found in the Smoke Management Guidelines for Agricultural and Prescribed Burning adopted by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) at its meeting on March 23, 2000. The Guidelines provide the framework for State and local air district regulators to conduct the program. Elements of the program include:

  • Registering and Permitting of Agricultural and Prescribed Burns
  • Meteorological and Smoke Management Forecasting
  • Daily Burn Authorization
  • Enforcement.

In the Spring of 2011, staff of the ARB, Federal and State Land Management Agencies, and Air Districts in California worked together to revise the policy that governs the management of naturally ignited fires.  The protocol entitled Coordination and Communication Protocol for Naturally Ignited Fires",  establishs a framework from which smoke and emission impacts from all wildfires will be minimized.

The ARB and air districts have established a number of working groups to aid in program development and implementation. Program development areas include:

  • Smoke Management Planning and Communication
  • Meteorological / Air Quality Smoke Management Forecasting
  • Alternatives to Burning
  • Public Education and Outreach
  • Residential Burning -- Outdoors.


Many of the terms associated with smoke management are defined in the ARB's Glossary of Air Pollution Terms.

Smoke Complaints

Complaints about smoke exposure may be directed to the ARB via email or by calling ARB's Complaint Recorder at
(800) 952-5588. Please be sure to leave your name, phone number, address and nature of your complaint -- including the date and time. You may also contact your local air district.
If you're not sure which air district you're in, please go to our district look-up feature.

Contact Information

If you require further information, please contact us.