The Santa Barbara County Fire Department plans to conduct two separate prescribed burns through December. 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.

Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) staff review the Smoke Management Plans 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 day has been selected for each burn, a day-before media advisory will be issued.

Bar M – mid-October to mid-December: A state-approved Vegetation Management Program (VMP) burn to reduce old growth fuel loads with a range improvement component. It will occur about four miles southeast of Los Alamos at the BarM Ranch (Barham Ranch). Some 200 acres of sage scrub and Oak Woodland with grass understory will be burned. This burn will occur over one-two days.

Spaulding / Midland – mid-November to mid-December: State-approved Vegetation Management Program (VMP) burn aimed at strategic vegetation fuel reduction and ecological restoration, with the goal of removing significant dead and down fuel loads adjacent to identified wildland/urban interface areas of concern. The three-four-day burn will occur about 3 miles north of Los Olivos on 1,512 acres of chaparral, sage scrub, and Oak Woodland with grass understory.

The 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 California Air Resources Board 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. Use caution while driving near prescribed fire operations.

For more about the county’s air quality, visit
To view prescribed burns throughout the state, visit the Prescribed Fire Information Reporting System (PFIRS) website: