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Morgan Hill
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September 23, 2021

Burn permits suspended in Santa Clara County

CalFire: Property owners should create 100 feet of defensible space

Starting May 17, CalFire has suspended all burn permits for the region that includes Santa Clara County as California enters drought conditions and what could be another devastating wildfire season, according to authorities. 

“While wildfires are a natural part of California’s landscape, the fire season in California and across the West is starting earlier and ending later each year,” says a press release from the CalFire Santa Clara Unit. “Climate change is considered a key driver of this trend. Warmer spring and summer temperatures, reduced snowpack, and earlier spring snowmelt create longer and more intense dry seasons that increase moisture stress on vegetation and make forests more susceptible to severe wildfire.”

The suspension of burn permits is effective within CalFire’s State Responsibility Area of Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa counties and the western portions of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. The suspension takes effect May 17, and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris, such as branches and leaves. 

“Last year, California experienced its most destructive fire season in the state’s known history,” Chief Thom Porter, CalFire Director. “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. We are relying on the public to be ready.”

Santa Clara Unit Chief Jake Hess reminded everyone, “All residents need to be ‘Ready’ by creating or maintaining 100 feet of defensible space around their home by removing all dead or dying grass and brush.”

Since Jan. 1, CalFire and firefighters across the state have already responded to more than 1,812 wildfires, says the press release. 

The press release offered a list of tips for homeowners and property owners:  

– Clear all dead and/or dying vegetation 100 feet from around all structures.

– Landscape with fire resistant plants and non-flammable ground cover.

– Find alternative ways to dispose of landscape debris like chipping or hauling it to a biomass energy or green waste facility.

Agriculture, land management, fire training, and other industrial-type burning may proceed if a CalFire official inspects the burn site and issues a special permit.

The suspension of burn permits 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 in such a manner as to prevent its spread to the wildland. A campfire permit can be obtained at local fire stations or online at

For additional information on how to create defensible space, home hardening, evacuation planning and how to be prepared for wildfires, as well as tips to prevent wildfires, visit

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