Open Burn Permit - Residential

Do your part to help in our efforts to keep El Cerrito safe from fires.  The Fire Department urges all residents with an open flame, non-cooking fire feature in their yards to apply for an Open Burn Permit at no cost.  A non-cooking fire feature includes:  outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and fire rings.  The Open Burn Permit does not apply to natural gas/propane outdoor fire features.

Bonfires are never allowed and outdoor fires are not allowed on a Red Flag day or a "No Burn Day" as determined by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

To get your free inspection, please contact the Fire Prevention Office directly at (510) 215-4457 or fpo@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us to make an appointment.  After you have passed inspection, you will receive a signed copy of the permit that will be good for one year.  The Fire Department will keep your permit on file in case of any calls for smoke or odor investigation from your residence.

Be a part of the community's efforts to mitigate fire danger!  Requirements for permits are listed below.  Contact the Fire Prevention Office today.

Open Burn Permit requirements:

  • Permanent outdoor fireplaces burning wood or other solid combustible materials shall be constructed in accordance with the California Building Code and be with equipped spark arrestor.
  • Portable outdoor fireplaces burning wood or other solid combustible materials shall be equipped with a device to arrest sparks. A 1/4-inch mesh metal cover is recommended.
  • Burning shall be restricted to low fuel amounts of natural wood not to exceed 18 inches in height.
  • Open burning of rubbish, paper products, brush, leaves or similar material is PROHIBITED.
  • The burning of wood or solid fuel in a device is not allowed within 25 feet of structures.
  • Hazardous vegetation within 30 feet of a device shall be removed.
  • A responsible adult shall be in constant attendance and shall be responsible for the supervision and care of an open fire until such fire has been properly extinguished.
  • Not fewer than one portable fire extinguisher with a minimum 4-A rating or other approved on-site fire-extinguishing equipment such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose or water truck, shall be available for immediate utilization.
  • A responsible adult person knowledgeable in the use of fire extinguishing equipment is required.
  • When open burning creates or adds to a hazardous situation, or a required permit for open burning has not been obtained, the Fire Department is authorized to order the extinguishment of the open burning operation.