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Updates to open burning rule

On May 20, 2010, the San Joaquin Valley's Air Pollution Control District’s (APCD) Governing Board approved the “Staff Report and Recommendations on Agricultural Burning” described in Section 6.3 of District Rule 4103 – Open Burning.

The report identified the agricultural material that met the criteria described in Section 5.5.2, allowing the postponement of the prohibitions required by California Health and Safety Code 41855.5.

This amended bulletin identifies the types of agricultural materials that are eligible to be on an agricultural burn permit as they relate to vineyards. The complete bulletin can be found at the SJV APCD Web site. Section 6.3.2 requires the District to review and update the report at least once every five years, with a new review to take place on vineyards and related practices in 2015.

Effective June 1, 2010, the District may issue agricultural burn permits for the following agricultural waste materials as it relates to vineyards:

• Vineyards, which include untreated grape stakes, paper raisin trays, and vineyard removals.

• Vineyard Attrition, which include suckers, and dead or broken stump and trunks from a vineyard. Attrition materials do not include annual prunings (vines and canes) from a vineyard, which may no longer be burned.

• Disease Prevention: An agricultural burn permit may be issued with specific conditions after the county agricultural commissioner has determined that open burning is the only means available for disposing of the diseased materials.

• Weeds from Surface Waterways, primarily from ponding and levee banks associated with agricultural operations.

• Tumbleweeds: Landowners must implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) or reasonable alternatives to open burning. Managing tumbleweed growth may be accomplished by using herbicides, mowing, stabilizing soils, planting competitive species, or a combination of these practices. However, tumbleweeds often accumulate on property from which they did not originate. A burn permit may be issued for burning tumbleweeds once the District has deemed that the only disposal method for the site is by open burning and the smoke will not affect smoke sensitive areas or contribute to a nuisance.

• Noxious Weeds are those species identified by the USDA as being noxious to a crop, such as yellow star thistle and dodder weed. Growers must implement BMPs for controlling noxious weeds in their crops.

Many practices or combination of practices are indeed reasonable alternatives to open burning; however, an agricultural burn permit may be issued if the grower demonstrates to the District that open burning is a BMP for abating the noxious weed.

• Ditchbanks and Canals maintained by an irrigation district or an agricultural operation. As with tumbleweeds and noxious weeds, feasible alternatives to open burning must first be examined before an agricultural burn permit may be issued.

• Fertilizer and Pesticide Paper Sacks: Alternatives to burning paper sacks include disposal in a landfill or purchasing fertilizers and pesticides in returnable, refillable bulk bags. A burn permit may be issued only if the BMP for disposing the paper sacks is by open burning. Burning burlap sacks, cardboard boxes, or plastic containers is prohibited.

Please note that additional information orchards, rice and beehives can be found on at the District’s Web site or in the full bulletin.

When requesting burn authorizations, growers should report only the amount of material that can be expected to be burned on that date.

Agricultural burn permit holders are encouraged to use the automated smoke management system (SMS) when seeking a daily burn authorization. The SMS may be reached by telephone at 1‐800‐665‐2876 or via the Internet at

For any questions on open burning and agricultural burn permits, please call 1‐800‐665‐2876 between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

Additional information on agricultural burning can be found at:

TAGS: Legislative
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