San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District
 
 

RULE 502 - AGRICULTURAL BURNING

(Adopted 8/2/76; Revised 7/5/77, 1/10/89)

A.

  1. No person shall set, permit, cause to be set, or allow, or maintain any open outdoor fire for the purpose of agricultural burning, unless he has a valid agricultural burning permit issued by a designated agency.
  2. No permittee shall conduct agricultural burning unless such burning is in compliance with all State laws or regulations, applicable fire code provisions, and the provisions of this Rule.
  3. The Agricultural Commissioner may authorize agricultural burning by a permittee for the purpose of disease and pest prevention related to an agricultural operation. Such authorization shall be in writing to the Control Officer and the permit issuing agency.
B. It shall be unlawful for any person (including, but not limited to, permittees) to conduct burning of agricultural waste unless such person complies with each of the following:
  1. Agricultural burning shall take place only on days permitted by public fire protection agencies and the Air Resources Board.
  2. The following materials shall not be burned in agricultural burning: shop wastes, fencing materials, construction or demolition debris, oil filters, tires, tar paper, plastic except for liners of paper sacks, buildings, wastes resulting from conversion of farm land to non-agricultural purposes, or anything not conforming to the definitions of agricultural waste, range improvement burning, forest management burning, or wildland vegetation management burning.
C. Preparation of Materials
  1. Agricultural waste and forest debris shall be reasonably free of dirt and soil, and shall be reasonably free of visible surface moisture.
  2. Agricultural waste and forest debris shall be arranged so as to burn with a minimum of smoke, or shall be loosely piled or wind-rowed to allow maximum drying prior to burning. Forest debris is to be so prepared unless contrary to good silvicultural practice.
  3. Range improvement or wildland vegetation management burning: Brush to be burned shall be brush treated at least six months prior to the burn unless brush treatment will cause irrecoverable damage expense or brush treatment is technically unfeasible.
For the purposes of this Subsection, "technical unfeasibility" shall mean: (a) that the burn site cannot be reached by treatment equipment or methods; or (b) that there are unavoidable physical obstacles; or (c) that brush treatment may cause erosion because of slope or soil type; or (d) trees intended to be saved would be destroyed because of brush treatment; or (e) an insignificant reduction of air contaminants would be achieved by brush treatment. Unwanted trees of over six inches in diameter shall be felled and dried for minimum periods specified below in Subsection D.1 of this Rule.If the burn is to be done primarily for improvement of land for wildlife and game habitat, the permit applicant must file with the District a statement from the Department of Fish and Game certifying that the burn is desirable and proper.

D. Drying Times

  1. Except as provided in Subsection C.3 of this Rule, any materials to be burned as agricultural waste, or in range improvement burning, or wildland vegetation management burning, must be dried prior to burning for the minimum periods listed below:
      1. -Six (6) weeks for trees and large branches;

        -Three (3) weeks for prunings and small branches;

        -Ten (10) days for wastes from field crops.

    These periods shall be the time between day of dying or cutting and the day of burning.
  2. Any material to be burned in forest management burning must be dried prior to burning for the minimum periods specified by the permit issuing agency.
E. Regulation of Total Tonnage

Range improvement and wildland vegetation management burning shall be limited to 2,000 acres for a single burn on any one day; provided, however, that the designated agency having jurisdiction may increase this acreage to establish perimeter for fire control.

F. Time Limits

Burning of agricultural waste, forest management burning, or wildland vegetation management burning, may commence at any time after the announcement of a burn-day by the Air Resources Board, but in no case shall it commence before sunrise. No additional waste or other material for burning, or ignition fuel, shall be ignited or added to any fire after two hours before sunset for any agricultural burning unless required for safety reasons by a designated fire control agency.

G. Wind Direction

No person shall ignite an agricultural burn if, at the time of ignition, the wind direction is toward a populated area within two and one-half (2½) miles of the burn site, except in the case of threatened imminent and substantial economic loss. Such threatened economic loss shall be certified in writing by the Agricultural Commissioner.
 
 

H. Ignition Devices and Methods

  1. The materials to be burned shall be ignited only by the use of ignition devices approved by the Air Pollution Control Officer. Tires, tar paper, plastics, dirty oils, or similar materials shall not be used. Ignition devices must comply with the provisions of Rule 401.
  2. Agricultural burns shall be ignited as rapidly as practicable within applicable fire control restrictions.
I. Permissive Burn or No-Burn Days

No person shall conduct agricultural burning on days designated as no-burn days by the State Air Resources Board, except as provided below in Subsection J of this Rule. The State Air Resources Board will designate each day as a permissive burn or no-burn day.

  1. Upon request from a permittee through a designated agency, made seven days in advance of a specific range improvement burn, wildland vegetation management, or forest management burn below 6,000 feet (MSL), a permissive burn or no-burn notice will be issued by the State Air Resources Board up to 48 hours prior to the date of the scheduled burn. Without further request, a daily notice will continue to be issued until a permissive burn notice is issued.
  2. A permissive burn or no-burn advisory outlook will be available up to 72 hours in advance of burns specified in Subsection I.1 of this Rule.
J. Agricultural Burning on a No-Burn Day

No person shall conduct agricultural burning on a no-burn day except as follows:

  1. The Control Officer may, by special permit, authorize agricultural burning by a permittee on days designated as no-burn days because the denial of such permit would threaten imminent and substantial economic loss. In authorizing such a burn, the amount of acreage to be burned in any one day shall be limited by the Control Officer and such burning shall be authorized only when downwind metropolitan areas are forecasted by the Air Resources Board to achieve the ambient air quality standards.
  2. A permittee desiring to burn on a no-burn day shall obtain a special permit from the Control Officer. No special permit will be granted unless the Agricultural Commissioner certifies in writing that denial would threaten imminent and substantial economic loss. Written certification by the Agricultural Commissioner may follow verbal certification.
  3. A permittee may conduct range improvement burning on a no-burn day during the period January 1 to May 31, of each calendar year, provided that more than 50% of the land being burned has been brush treated. If the burn is to be done primarily for the improvement of land for wildlife or game habitat, the Department of Fish and Game may specify the amount of brush treatment required.
  4. Notwithstanding the provisions in subsection 3 of this section, the Control Officer may prohibit range improvement burning during the period designated for this burning if, in the opinion of the Air Resources Board, such prohibition is required for the maintenance of suitable air quality.
  5. A permittee may burn empty paper sacks or containers which contained pesticides or other toxic substances, provided that:
  6. a. the sacks or containers do not consist of any plastics except liners of paper sacks, and

    b. the sacks or containers are emptied and burned on the property on which the pesticides or other substances were applied, and

    c. the materials burned satisfy the definition of agricultural wastes as specified in Subsection A.3 of Rule 105.

    Burning conforming to this subsection may be conducted on no-burn days.

K. Restrictions on Total Tonnage

No permittee shall conduct, or cause to be conducted, any agricultural burning in violation of the Control Officer's restrictions when the Control Officer has restricted use of the permittee's permit as stated hereinafter in this Section K. All agricultural burning permits will be issued with sequential numbers. The Control Officer may restrict agricultural burning to odd or even numbered permits on specified days. The goal of this option is to ensure that a major portion of the total tonnage of agricultural materials is not ignited at one time.

L. Wildlife and Game Habitat

No person shall be granted an agricultural burning permit for range improvement burning where such burning is primarily for improvement of land for wildlife and game habitat, unless he has first filed with the Control Officer a statement from the Department of Fish and Game certifying that the burn is desirable and proper for the improvement of land for wildlife and game habitat.

M. Authorization for Agricultural Burning

No person shall be granted an agricultural burning permit for a range improvement, forest management, or wildland vegetation management burn which involves material from more than five (5) acres, unless he has first filed an application for permit to burn from the designated agency at least 14 days prior to the intended burn date. A copy of this application will be sent promptly to the Control Officer by the designated agency.

N. Burn Reports

A permittee or applicant for an agricultural burning permit shall supply all information requested on the agricultural burning permit form or by the agency issuing the permit and shall make reports of dates of burning and type and amount of wastes burned as required by the Control Officer.

O. Exceptions

The following areas are exempted from the provisions of this Rule. These exemptions apply to the burning of agricultural wastes only and do not apply to range improvement, forest management burning, or wildland vegetation management burning.

  1. Burning of agricultural wastes at 4,000 feet or more above mean sea level.
  2. Burning of agricultural wastes at 2,000 feet or more above means sea level, in that portion of the District located south of 3540' N. latitude, east of 120 7.5'W longitude, and north of 3500' N. latitude.
P. Revocation

The issuing designated agency or the Control Officer may revoke an agricultural burning permit if it is found that the permit conditions, any State or Federal laws, or the provisions of this Rule have been violated. The designated agency or the Control Officer shall notify the permit holder in writing of the revocation and the reasons therefore. Service of the notification of revocation may be by personal delivery or certified mail. In the case of service by mail, service shall be deemed complete at the time of deposit of the notification in the United States post office, or a mail box, sub-post office, substation, or mail chute, or other like facility.

Q. Appeal

Within ten (10) days after service of notice of revocation specified in Subsection P above, the permit holder may petition the Hearing Board in writing for a public hearing. The Hearing Board, after notice and a public hearing held within 30 days after filing the petition, may sustain or reverse the decision of the Control Officer or the designated agency.

R. Wildland Vegetation Management Burning-Information Required

For all burning of acreages greater than 100 acres total which meets the definition of " wildland vegetation management burning", regardless of whether such burning also meets another definition in Rule 105 or Regulation V, the following information shall be supplied to the District for review and approval in advance of such burning:

  1. Location and specific objectives of the burn project;
  2. Acreage or tonnage, type and arrangement of vegetation;
  3. Directions and distances to nearby sensitive receptor areas;
  4. Fuel condition, combustion, and meteorological prescription elements developed for project;
  5. Projected schedule and duration of project ignition, combustion, and burndown;
  6. Specifications for monitoring and verifying critical project parameters; and
  7. Specifications for disseminating project information.

  8.