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Prescribed Burn Association

         Everyone Deserves A Good Relationship With Fire

"Neighbors helping neighbors put good fire on the ground": that's what the Butte Prescribed Burn Association is all about! When we learn to use fire in a good way, we build community and heal from the wildfire traumas of our past. 


Fire at the right time and place keeps forests and pastures healthy. Everyone deserves a good relationship with fire! We are hill people and flatlanders, experienced fire professionals and total beginners, from all walks of life, ages 9 to 92. Everyone has something to contribute and everyone has something to learn.

Do you want to put good fire on your land? You don't have to go it alone -- for those who don't have fire experience or a fire mentor in their family or community, you can get help from the Butte RCD.  We can help you with burn planning, navigating permitting, and moral support and we can lend you handy equipment. Just email with questions and someone can visit your land and help you decide whether fire can help you meet your objectives and how to do it.

What kind of permits will I need?  The situation changed in fall 2023 (for the better!), so please check out the totally overhauled new version of our beloved permitting flow chart.



AQ: No matter where you are or what time of year, you need an Air Quality permit to burn. AQ permits are $30, plus $1/acre you plan to burn, and they are good for a whole year.  If you are burning below 1000' in elevation OR you are above 1000' bbut you will underburn more than 10 ac in a day, you also need a smoke management plan ($130; Butte County Air Quality Management District will help you create it!)

CAL FIRE:  New for 2023-24, you will only need a CAL FIRE permit during the "shoulder seasons."  In fall, you'll need a permit between the date the burn permit suspension is lifted (in 2023, this was Oct. 13) and the date fire season is officially declared over  (in 2023, this was Nov. 13). But after fire season is officially declared over, you won't need a permit again until May 1 (or the date CAL FIRE starts requiring them -- which could be earlier than May 1 if it's a dry spring.)  Then in spring, you will need a permit until the burn permit suspension is put back in place. Burn suspension often returns in June, but each year is of course slightly different.

We'd like to take a minute to thank CAL FIRE BTU for making this positive change to require permits for less of the year. This aligns Butte County's permitting situation with that of most other Northern Californian counties.  And, it will make it that much easier for landowners to get a lot of good work done.  We promise you'll never regret it, CAL FIRE!

"Air Quality Demystified" webinar with Ursula Parker of the Butte County Air Quality Management District is available to watch here

How can I know when fire weather -- or good burn weather -- is coming?  Check out this great weather and forecasting primer developed by meteorologist Bryant Nagelson when he joined #ButteTREX 2021 as our Incident Meteorologist (IMET).  (After you explore the resources Bryant shared, maybe you'll be so fascinated by weather you'll want to come train as #ButteTREX's next IMET!)

Community burns and trainings will start up again in October 2023, so don't miss out!  To make sure you hear about every burn opportunity, please sign up for Good Fire Newsletters here.   To watch a great 12-minute video about what a landowner burn is like, click here. Or, learn how we're helping to build a capable workforce of local fire practitioners with TREX - the festival of fire learning that comes to Butte County every year.

2021-22 was a super successful first season of burning for our PBA. Over 14 months, we held 11 training burns (plus 3 prep days), providing hands-on good fire experience to 100 local Butte County residents who contributed a collective 1,700 hours of volunteer time to reduce fuels on 58 strategic acres around the communities of Cohasset and Forest Ranch.  We also got amazing training through #ButteTREX in fall 2021 and 2 subsequent burn planning workshops. For 2022-23, we got less burning done because of the very wet winter, but we held some work days and trainings and bought lots of equipment we all can share... with the help of four grants we were awarded in spring 2022 (hooray!).  In 2023-24, we've already held 2 landowner burns in Forest Ranch, with over 25 participants, and lots more good burns to come! We will continue to partner with CAL FIRE, the Fire Safe Councils, Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve, the Plumas Underburn Co-operative , the CA Department of Conservation, and anyone else who wants to help us revitalize a rural culture of fire!

Do you want good fire on your land? Email and we'll help you get there.

Gentle smoke rises from very low flame creeping through an open blue oak woodland.
Gentle blue oak woodland burns are a great way to spend a mellow February day.




More about prescribed fire....

Burning your own lands is legal and it has many benefits for your livestock, for wildlife habitat, and for your family's safety.  It's your right as a landowner.  If you need help getting that first burn pulled together, the RCD is here to make it easier for you. Because if more people in Butte County knew how to burn their lands and did it regularly, we'd all be safer and better off.


What a PBA can do for you  

  • Help you figure out what permits you need and how to get them
  • Serve as neighborhood hub for tips and tricks
  • Offer a trailer full of burn tools and gear you can borrow 
  • Offer training opportunities suited to your needs, whether it's the basics or an elite course. 
  • Have a schedule of work parties, tours, and workshops
  • Connect you with neighbors who can help you burn (and do the prep work) --  Many hands make light work!


What a PBA can't do    A PBA doesn't take away your liability. That always rests with the landowner -- as it should, since the landowner is the one getting the biggest benefit from the burn.  (However, the State Prescribed Fire Claims Fund can now provide $2,000,000 of liability coverage to your burn, and as of Oct 2023, we can help you access it!) 




Check out the California PBA page, - lots of inspiration and resources here​​!

Download a simple burn plan that works for most landowners. The PBA can help you develop your map, burn prescription, etc. , or you can work directly with CAL FIRE and do it on your own.Download a longer burn plan template that works for more complex burns"Liability Explainer": What Happens If Something Goes Wrong During A Burn or Burn Prep


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PBA members walk the land together and talk good fire. Big Chico Cr canyon, 2020.


If you're not an experienced burner, planning your first burn can seem almost impossible. But the PBA is here to help.  In a year or two or three, you'll be a seasoned burner giving advice to newcomers. 






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Forest Ranch resident Anasuya Basil puts good fire on the ground as part of a PBA burn on Doe Mill Ridge.  Come learn and burn with us: We will train you!

Thanks to our funders...

Aug 2019-Feb 2022   The Butte PBA was started in 2019 thanks to funding through a Forest Health Watershed Coordinator Program grant awarded by the California Department of Conservation

June 2021-May 2022   Thanks to Butte County Air Quality Management District for the Community Air Protection grant that helped us buy radios, Kestrel weather monitors and hose lay equipment!

May 2022 - July 2024  Supported by Regional Forest and Fire Capacity (RFFC) funding awarded by the California Department of Conservation, through a block grant to the Watershed Research and Training Center.

May 2022-May 2023   Supported by the CoCo-AIM  program  (Coalitions and Collaboratives, Inc.: Action, Implementation, and Mitigation).

Through March 2026  Work outside the Berry-Brush Creek areas will be supported by CAL FIRE's Wildfire Resilience Block Grant through a subgrant from the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts

Through March 2026  Work in the Berry-Brush Creek areas will be supported by an agreement with the Butte County Fire Safe Council under their "Forest Health and Feather River Watershed Resilience" grant

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