Air quality staff work to minimize the impacts of smoke and protect public health from open burning. The District is concerned about the impacts on public health that can result from open burning.
In order to protect the public's health, efforts have been made at the state and local level to work with stakeholders including residents in rural areas (rural residential burn brochure), members of the agricultural community (agricultural burn) and land managers (prescribed burn) to reduce the amount of burning and to better manage smoke from open burning practices.
Some of the efforts that have been made include the passage of the Connelly-Areias-Chandler Rice Straw Burning Reduction Act of 1991 and the adoption of Title 17.
The Connelly-Areias-Chandler Rice Straw Burning Reduction Act mandated that rice straw burning in the Sacramento Valley be phased down starting in 1992 and, beginning in September 2001, allowed only under specified conditions for disease control.
In 2004, Title 17 added restrictions and new procedures to more effectively reduce the impact of smoke from open burning.
On the regional level, the Basin Control Council (BCC), which is comprised of elected officials, developed the Smoke Management Plan (SMP) (originally titled the Agricultural Burning Plan) which is enforced at the district level. The BCC’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), which is comprised of air district staff, meets annually to review and make recommendations for more effective measures for smoke management as needed.
District procedures on open burning include:
Due to a combination of legislation, new practices by growers and District efforts, there has been a significant decrease in the number of acres burned per year within the District’s jurisdiction since 1992.
ALTERNATIVES TO BURNING
While burning is a necessary vegetation management tool, there are alternatives to open burning. The use of a specific alternative is dependent on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, the type of residue, the season, weather conditions, possible environmental impacts, and the cost-effectiveness of the alternative. The District encourages growers to consider the following non-burn alternatives when possible:
REPORTING OF SMOKE IMPACTS
During regular business hours, district staff responds to complaints of smoke from open burning. All complaints are investigated and documented. During non-business hours, reports should be made to the appropriate agency as listed below:
For more information on our burn program, contact the District at 530-757-3650 or 800-287-3650.