The fourth season of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District’s Check Before You Burn program starts November 1 and runs through February 28, 2011. Residential wood burning will be restricted or prohibited on days when fine particle pollution is forecast to be high. The law is in effect in Sacramento County and its cities of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Isleton, Rancho Cordova and Sacramento. Residents are required to Check Before You Burn.

The District will restrict or prohibit the use of indoor and outdoor fireplaces and wood stoves, and fire pits and chimineas that burn wood, pellets, manufactured logs or any other solid fuel to keep fine particle pollution down. A voluntary request to discourage burning will be issued when air pollution levels are on the rise.

Check Before You Burn Categories:

Stage 2 – All Burning Prohibited

  • All burning is prohibited in any device when fine particle pollution is forecast to exceed 35 micrograms per cubic meter. It is illegal to burn any solid fuel, including wood, manufactured logs and pellets.

Stage 1 – No Burn – Unless Exempt

  • It is illegal to burn when fine particle pollution is forecast to be 32-35 micrograms per cubic meter unless EPA certified fireplace inserts or stoves, or pellet stoves are used.

Burning Discouraged – Voluntary

  • Burning is discouraged when fine particle pollution is forecast to be 26-31 micrograms per cubic meter. The AQMD asks you to voluntarily not burn.

Legal to Burn

  • When the forecast is 25 micrograms per cubic meter or lower then it is legal to burn and the use of manufactured firelogs is acceptable at this level. If you choose to burn please follow clean burning techniques in order to burn as cleanly as possible.


The following exemptions apply to both Stage 1 and Stage 2 categories:

  • Homes where wood burning is the sole source of heat
  • Financial hardship waiver approved by the Air Pollution Control Officer – must be renewed each burn season
  • Devices that operate exclusively with natural gas or propane
  • Cooking devices
  • Ceremonial fires related to specific religious activities


Enforcement will be through complaints (800-880-9025) and sightings of visible smoke by Air District enforcement staff. First time violations will result in a $50 fine or a requirement to complete and pass a wood smoke awareness course. Fines for subsequent violations are higher.

Check Before You Burn:

  1. 1-877-NO-BURN-5 (1-877-662-8765)
  2. Visit
  3. Subscribe to Air Alert at and check the Daily Air Quality Forecast box to receive a daily e-mail
  4. Check the Sacramento Bee’s weather page located on the back of the Our Region section
  5. Listen to television and radio weather forecasts
  6. Follow us at

Residents can visit or call 916-874-4800 for more information.

Safety Guidelines For Wood Burning Residents 1