Citing rainfall and increased fuel moisture levels, the Santa Barbara County and Montecito fire departments lifted burn restrictions this week, allowing residents to burn piles of cut brush on approved “burn days.” On January 4, the county fire department had announced the area’s transition from high fire season to a winter preparedness level.
Dependent on weather factors like wind speed and air pressure, burn days are determined at each department’s discretion and in collaboration with the Air Pollution Control District. Montecito residents may call their district daily at (805) 969-7762 to find out whether burn piles — with a permit — are allowed. Those who live within the county’s fire district (Santa Barbara, Goleta, Isla Vista, and North County) may call (805) 686-8177.
The press releases from Montecito Fire and County Fire stated, “Burning during the winter months when the fuel moisture levels are high and temperatures are low is preferred.” On Sundays and holidays, burning is still prohibited. The limited permits extend only to burn piles and not standing vegetation. Before a permit is issued, all burn sites and piles must be inspected by fire department officials.