Permits and Regulations
Many people think that prescribed fire projects involve major permitting and regulatory hurdles, but that's not always true. Projects on federal or state lands, or projects that are funded with state or federal dollars, do trigger the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA - state) and/or the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA - national). Those projects must also comply with air quality regulations and, in some cases, with CAL FIRE or Local Responsibility Area permit requirements. However, projects on private lands that do not involve state or federal funding, or have a state or federal agency as the lead, have a more simple regulatory framework.
CAL FIRE permits
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CAL FIRE, is the agency that oversees fire activities on private lands.
During declared fire season, which in most parts of the state roughly extends from May 1 through the end of October or early November, a CAL FIRE permit is required for prescribed fire activities. Depending on the size of the project, landowners may need an LE-62, LE-5, or LE-7/8. For more information on permits, consult with your local CAL FIRE unit.
After the end of declared fire season, a CAL FIRE permit is not required. However, we always recommend notifications with CAL FIRE before implementing any prescribed fire project.
Local Responsibility Area permits
Each municipality has their own rules and regulations regarding prescribed fires. Contact your local fire marshal for more information.