Residents alarmed by the acrid smell of fire and rising plumes of smoke have telephoned County Fire dispatch several times in the past 24 hours, concerned about pile burns near La Patera in Goleta and in Mission Canyon above Santa Barbara. Pile burns are allowed if the brush-burner has a permit and if the Air Quality Control District determines a pile burn may occur that day.
Yesterday and today are burn days in the county, said Mike Eliason with the County Fire Department. “Those who wish to burn notify the nearest fire station,” he explained. “The station captain for the county then calls our dispatch and lets them know if a burn is happening in their area.” Nonetheless, engine companies respond to each call to ensure the burns are permitted and are being conducted safely.
This year’s burn period began in mid-February. It ends when the fire chiefs call the beginning of high-fire season, which depends on weather and other events. That date is yet unknown for 2018.