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Prescribed Burn Association

"Neighbors helping neighbors put good fire on the ground": that's what the Butte Prescribed Burn Association is all about! Fire at the right time and place keeps forests and pastures healthy, and when we take charge of fire we build community and heal from the wildfire traumas of our past.  Our PBA is done burning for spring 2021, but we have a ton of community burns and burn prep days planned throughout fall-winter 2021-22, so don't miss out!  Check out upcoming events and sign up for newsletters!

2021 was a super successful first season of burning for our PBA. We held four training burns (plus 3 prep days), providing hands-on good fire experience to 75 local Butte County residents who contributed a collective 700 hours of volunteer time to reduce fuels on 21 strategic acres around the community of Forest Ranch.  For 2021-22, we have big plans for expanding to Cohasset and beyond, getting more equipment like radios, hiring more staff and helping to put on even bigger trainings that will come with job advancement certificates for those who want to take their fire skills pro.  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.


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

Download a blank burn 3-page plan for a  small, simple ranch burnSee a completed version of the small, simple ranch burn planDownload 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





Flames about four inches high devour pine needle duff in a timber stand.
This stand of timber will be more profitable thanks to the extra nutrients, and free pest control, provided by this fire.

Current News...

BURN PERMITS NOW REQUIRED.... Here's how to get them
As of May 1st, you need a CAL FIRE permit to light a fire on your property.  Here are the rules:

FOR PILE BURNS, 4'x4' or less:
In unincorporated Butte County, get your free, automatic permit here:
In Paradise, Oroville, Biggs, Gridley, Chico sphere of influence, etc: See the final page of this press release to find out where to apply for your burn permit.
You won't need an Air Quality permit for these small pile burns, but you do need to check first to make sure it is a permissive residential burn day by calling (530) 332-9407.
No matter where you live, burn those piles as soon as you can: Paradise will close the burning season May 31, and the rest of the county is likely to go under a burn ban June 30 (if not before).  And be careful!
FOR LARGER PILE BURNS: Maybe you have slash on your land from a logging operation?  You can burn it, but (now that it's after May 1st) only with an LE-5 permit from CAL FIRE. 
Step 1: Call the Air Quality (AQ) district at 332-9400 to get a timber harvest burn permit.  Expect slower-than-usual service while the COVID-19 shutdown persists.  Please be patient and plan ahead.
Step 2: Call your local CAL FIRE office to get an LE-5 permit.  They like you to have the AQ permit first.  They will likely schedule an inspection and secify certain equipment you must have on hand before you burn.  If you don't know or can't find your local station, call the countywide prevention bureau at (530) 538-7888 and ask how to get an LE-5.

May contain: person, human, and fire
This could be you! (Forest Ranch, 2021)

FOR BROADCAST BURNS: Now that it's after May 1st, it's illegal to broadcast-burn without a permit until fire season ends.  Realistically, for most people in Butte County, it won't be good burn weather again until late fall. But summer is a great time to plan fall burns! Walk your land, map out units, do prep work like sawing; decide how many people you need for your burn and when, call your local CAL FIRE station and ask about permits (expect slower than usual service during wildfire season though), and make a list of tools you don't have and might need to borrow.  Need help getting started? Email for a free visit to your land to help you understand what it would take to get good fire back.

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. 

May contain: human, person, ground, tree, and plant
PBA members walk the land together and talk good fire. Big Chico Cr canyon, 2020.






May contain: ground, tree, plant, person, human, and tree trunk
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!


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. 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.  A PBA is also not a full-service burn outfit: the landowner still needs to hire a burn boss if they want one.  However, we're just getting started, and who knows what we'll come up with together in the future to make burning easier and safer in our communities!