Permit Sonoma Fire Prevention

Fire Prevention Division

Effective January 1, 2019, the Fire Prevention Division and Hazardous Materials Division was integrated into Permit Sonoma. The Fire Prevention Division is primarily responsible for programs, procedures, and projects for preventing the outbreak of fires and to regulate the storage, handling, and processing of Hazardous Materials through the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) program within the unincorporated areas of the county.

Rebuilding Together
Official Rebuilding information for unincorporated Sonoma County after the 2017 Sonoma Complex Fire and 2019 Kincade Fire.

defensive space from wildfireInspecciones del "Espacio de Defensa" de Manejo de Vegetación

Para mayor información sobre de los criterios para las inspecciones, por favor visite:

2019 Vegetation Management "Defensible Space" Inspections

The inspection program begins in spring 2019. Selected properties zoned for 5 acres or less in size that are not within city limits (improved and unimproved) are part of the inspection program. This program is currently complaint driven with some additional areas selected, working in conjunction with local fire protection districts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Preguntas Frecuentes

More About the Fire Prevention and Hazardous Materials Division

Our goal is to minimize the danger to persons and damage to property caused by fires that do occur. In addition to code enforcement, the Fire Prevention Division staff is responsible for hazardous materials incident response, fire investigations and emergency scene management support at emergencies.

The Fire Prevention Division consists of the following staff:

  • Fire Marshal (who reports to the Permit Sonoma Director)
  • A Senior Fire Inspector
  • 4 Fire Inspectors
  • A Construction Plan Checker
  • 2 Office Assistants
  • Several Extra-Help Fire Inspectors (depending on workload)

It is the duty of the Fire Marshal to oversee the Prevention & Hazardous Materials Division.

  • Published on December 12, 2019

    Effective December 9, 2019, the burn permit suspension in Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Solano, Yolo, and Colusa counties was lifted by Cal Fire. Those possessing current and valid agriculture and residential burn permits can resume burning on permissible burn days.

  • Published on December 10, 2019

    New state-mandated building codes, that govern the design and construction of structures and the maintenance of life safety systems within structures for fire prevention, go into effect on January 1, 2020.

  • More News

Prevention and Hazardous Materials Services

The routine services that the Fire Prevention Division staff provides to the community are typically related to: hazardous materials incidents response, emergency scene management, fire investigations and code enforcement within the unincorporated areas of the county and within the areas of contract agencies.

Hazardous Materials Incidents Response

Permit Sonoma's Hazardous Materials Unit assumes one of the lead agency roles in protecting the community from risks associated with storage, use, and transportation of hazardous materials. The full-time fire prevention staff takes part in an on-call rotation and provides primary response to hazardous materials incidents within all of the unincorporated area of the county, as well as some incorporated areas.

Hazardous Vegetation Inspection & Abatement

Inspectors from Sonoma County and local Fire Districts inspect properties for compliance with the Sonoma County Fire Safety Ordinance. Selected properties zoned for 5 acres or less in size that are not within city limits (improved and unimproved) are part of the inspection program.

Emergency Scene Management

An incident management system must be provided to form the basic structure of all emergency operations regardless of the scale of the emergency. An effective incident management system must be utilized to manage incidents of different types, including structure fires, wildland fires, hazardous materials incidents, emergency medical operations, and other types of emergencies that might be handled by the department.

The full-time fire prevention staff (including the Fire Marshal) takes part in an on-call rotation and provides emergency scene management at all but the most routine emergencies within the County Service Area-40.

Fire Investigations

All fires must be investigated to determine the origin and cause of the fire. If the fire is determined to be incendiary or suspicious, a full investigation must be initiated. The fire prevention staff is responsible for determining the cause and origin of fires within the County Service Area-40. Staff may also be called upon to assist other fire agencies with fire investigations as part of a countywide agreement. Fire prevention staff members also provide fire investigation assistance to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department when requested.

Code Enforcement

The Fire Prevention Division is responsible for the adoption and enforcement of the Sonoma County Fire Safety Ordinance, as well as enforcement of other fire safety regulations. The Fire Prevention Division strives to examine areas within County Service Area-40, and within Fire Protection Districts (through contract with the Fire Prevention Division) in which a significant fire problem could develop. Personnel inspect real property with an emphasis on those occupancies subject to a high level of hazard to life and property.

CUPA Programs

The Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Division has the responsibility for the County's Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) Programs.

Portions of the California Fire Code which address hazardous materials are also enforced by this Division. Inspections of businesses in the County which are included in any of these programs are conducted on a routine basis, and our Division often works in conjunction with the County’s Environmental Health Department as well as local fire departments. Funding for this Division is provided through fees charged to the businesses which are regulated by the County under these CUPA programs. There are approximately 1400 businesses covered by one or more of the CUPA programs. Information regarding hazardous materials in your community can be obtained from this Division.

There are three other CUPA agencies in Sonoma County which regulate facilities in their communities: Santa Rosa Fire Department, Petaluma Fire Department and Healdsburg Fire Department, which regulates facilities within Sebastopol and Healdsburg through a Joint Powers Agreement. If you have questions regarding facilities within any of those cities, contact the appropriate fire department.

New Construction

For new construction projects, enforcement of the fire code is concurrent with enforcement of the building code, beginning when an application for a building permit is received, and concluding with a final occupancy approval.

Enforcement of the fire code is conducted by Fire Prevention staff in cooperation with building and community development staff, and local fire agency representatives (when applicable - i.e. within fire protection districts) and involves the following typical activities:

  • Pre-construction meetings
  • Customer Service Counter staffing
  • Fire Code Plan Review – new buildings/projects, environmental impact reports, subdivision applications, etc.
  • Field inspections related to new projects - access inspections, fire protection system inspections, vegetation management plans, etc
  • Vegetation Management Plan development
  • Inspections of Licensed Care Facilities upon request from California Dept. of Social Services
  • Annual and tri-annual occupancy inspections – mandated, routine and contract.
  • Parking citations where fire department access is compromised
  • Special event permit review and inspections – including Infineon Raceway
  • Citizen complaint follow-ups – including vegetation management (“weeds”)
  • Code enforcement following a Notice & Order
  • Other projects and duties as assigned

Contact Information

James Williams
Fire Marshal

Permit and Resource Management Department

County of Sonoma

Contact us by Phone
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Burn Permit Info