Painted Cave Pile Burn Project Planned

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Source: Air Pollution Control District

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department plans to conduct a prescribed pile burn project along Painted Cave Road in the southern portion of Santa Barbara County by February 2022, as conditions allow. Prescribed fires typically burn less intensely than wildfires. Prescribed burns can help prevent the spread of wildfires and can reduce impacts to watersheds that can result in soil loss and sedimentation.

The Painted Cave Pile Burn Project will occur over two days. Approximately seven acres of brush will be burned. Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) staff review the Smoke Management Plan and provide conditions to minimize smoke impacts in Santa Barbara County. The burns will occur when the meteorological conditions are highly favorable to direct smoke away from population centers. Once the burn days have been selected, a day-before media advisory will be issued.

Prescribed burns are planned and coordinated by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Santa Barbara County APCD, San Luis Obispo County APCD, San Joaquin Valley APCD, Ventura County APCD, and the California Air Resources Board in order to minimize impacts on air quality on surrounding communities. The burn is dependent on weather and air quality conditions that are favorable to smoke dispersion. If the conditions are not as desired, the burn will be rescheduled.

Due to changing winds and weather conditions, it is difficult to predict which areas of the county, if any, may be most affected by smoke from the burn. If you smell smoke, take precautions and use common sense to reduce any harmful health effects by limiting outdoor activities. When you can smell smoke or when it is visible in your area, avoid strenuous outdoor activity and remain indoors as much as possible. These precautions are especially important to children, older adults, and those with heart and lung conditions. If you are sensitive to smoke, consider temporarily relocating and closing all doors and windows on the day of the burn. Symptoms of smoke exposure can include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chest tightness or pain, nausea, and unusual fatigue or lightheadedness.   Please use caution while driving near prescribed fire operations.

A portable air monitor will be set up nearby to monitor air quality conditions.

For more information regarding the county’s air quality, visit

To view prescribed burns throughout the state, visit the Prescribed Fire Information Reporting System (PFIRS) website:

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