Check Before You Burn season started Friday, Nov. 1 and runs through February. The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (Sac Metro Air District) will restrict or prohibit burning any solid fuel, including wood, pellets or manufactured fire logs, on days when fine particle (PM2.5) pollution is forecast to be high.
Wood burning during the winter causes over 50 percent of the PM2.5 pollution in the area when weather conditions trap pollution close to the ground. It’s a serious health threat to people in communities.
This regulation applies to residents and businesses in Sacramento County and the cities of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Isleton, Rancho Cordova and Sacramento who must check the daily burn status before using a wood burning fireplace or other wood-burning device to make sure it’s legal to burn.
Wood smoke contains invisible particles that are small enough to enter the bloodstream. It’s especially harmful for children, older adults and anyone with a pre-existing heart or lung condition. Breathing wood smoke increases the risk of asthma, heart attack, stroke and many other health problems.
It’s easy to Check Before You Burn: call 1-877-NO-BURN-5 (1-877-662-8765), follow on Twitter @AQMD, visit www.AirQuality.org, download the free Sacramento Region Air Quality app, or sign up to get a daily Air Alert email at www.SpareTheAir.com – input your Sacramento County zip code and check the “Daily Air Quality Forecast” box.
There are a couple of exemptions to the burn ban: if wood burning is your sole source of heat, or if you have received an approved financial hardship waiver from the Sac Metro Air District, you may use your wood burning device on Stage 1 or Stage 2 no burn days. Both the sole source exemption request form and hardship waiver are available at www.AirQuality.org or by calling 1-800-880-9025, and those with EPA-certified fireplace inserts or wood stoves or pellet stoves may use them on Stage 1 days provided the devices do not emit visible smoke.
To report a complaint, call 1-800-880-9025 or file an online complaint at www.AirQuality.org/Residents/Complaints. First time violations will result in a $50 fine or the option to pass a wood smoke awareness exam. Subsequent violations are higher.