Santa Cruz

Cal Fire Suspends Backyard Burns for Santa Cruz County

With the state bracing for a second dry year and wildfire season looming, Cal Fire on Sunday suspended backyard burns in Santa Cruz County.

The suspension ends the backyard burn season for the county and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris such as branches and leaves without a permit from Cal Fire. The suspension took effect this weekend.

In 2020, California saw its most destructive fire season in the state's history and authorities are relying on the public to be ready, said Cal Fire director Thom Porter.

"Together, we must continue to adapt and evolve to be able to withstand the intensity of these fires, keeping in mind, that the only way to minimize the damage they cause is through education, prevention and mitigation efforts," Porter said.

Cal Fire is asking residents to make sure there is 100 feet of defensible space around homes and buildings on their property and be prepared to evacuate if the time comes.

The department may issue restricted temporary burning permits if there is an essential reason due to public health and safety, Cal Fire said.

The suspension of backyard burns for residential landscape debris does not apply to campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property.

Campfires may be permitted if the campfire is maintained to prevent its spread to the wildland. A campfire permit can be obtained at local fire stations or online at

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