Saturday, March 6, 2010

Understanding Wood Burning Regulations

To reduce fine particulate pollution and protect public health, the Bay Area Quality Management District adopted Regulation 6, Rule 3: Wood Burning Devices.

The wood-burning regulation includes a mandatory prohibition on wood-burning on days when air quality is forecast to be unhealthy, as well as restrictions on excessive chimney smoke and a prohibition on the burning of garbage, plastics and other unsuitable materials.

The Air District will issue Winter Spare the Air Alerts through the end of February, at which times it will be illegal to use any wood-burning devices such as fireplaces, wood stoves or pellet stoves within the Bay Area. Residents failing to comply with the restrictions will be subject to a $400 fine, which will increase with subsequent violations (unless the resident's ONLY source of heat is from a wood-burning device).

How you can comply with the wood burning regulation:
  • Check before burning from November - February.
  • Do not burn wood, fire logs or pellets if Winter Spare the Air Alerts are issued. Call 1-877-4NOBURN.
  • Listen for announcements on radio and television.
  • Sign up for email notification at
  • Sign up for automatic phone alerts at or call 800-430-1515.
  • These regulations apply to households and businesses with fireplaces or other wood-burning devices, even hotels and restaurants.
  • It is okay to use gas-fueled fireplaces and logs, gas inserts or electric fireplaces.
  • NEVER burn any garbage, plastics, wrapping paper or other inappropriate materials.
  • Burn cleanly when burning is allowed.
  • Burn only clean, dry wood in short, hot fires with plenty of air in order to prevent excessive smoke from chimneys or flues.

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