Air District Operations

The Air District is taking steps to ensure Bay Area air quality and public health are protected while the shelter-in-place orders are in effect. Permits for businesses adjusting operations to aid in the public health response will also be expedited. Read more... | en Español

Wood Smoke Pollution

Learn how the Air District is reducing wood smoke pollution in the Bay Area through restrictions on wood burning, and find out how you can help at home.

During the winter, smoke from residential wood burning is the leading cause of air pollution in the Bay Area. Small particles and toxic chemicals from wood smoke can cause serious health problems, especially in children, older adults, and those with heart or respiratory problems. To learn how wood smoke pollution can affect your health, visit the U.S. EPA’s Burn Wise Health Effects web page.

Wood-Burning Devices Rule

Adopted by the Board of Directors in July 2008 and revised in 2015 and 2019, Regulation 6, Rule 3: Wood-Burning Devices:

  • Makes it illegal to use any wood-burning devices (such as fireplaces, woodstoves, or pellet stoves) when fine particulate pollution is forecast to exceed federal health standards and a Spare the Air Alert is in effect. Beginning in 2020, the wood burning ban has been extended to include any days year round when a Spare the Air Alert is in effect due to high levels of fine particulate pollution, such as during a wildfire.
  • Limits excessive smoke when burning is allowed.
  • Bans burning of garbage, plastics, and other toxic materials.
  • Requires labeling on firewood and other solid fuels sold in the Bay Area.

More information is available in the Wood-Burning Devices Rule Frequently Asked Questions.

Other Requirements

  • The Wood Smoke rule requires anyone, selling, renting, or leasing a property in the Bay Area to disclose the potential health impacts from air pollution caused by burning wood.
  • Regulation 6, Rule 3, Section 110.1 requires anyone whose sole source of heat is a wood-burning device to utilize an EPA-certified device that is registered with the Air District for an exemption from the burn ban. An open hearth fireplace will not qualify for an exemption.
  • As of November 1, 2016, you must register your EPA-certified device with the Air District to be exempt from the burn ban alerts or you are no longer exempt and subject to penalty for a violation.
  • Also, the Air District is conducting a rebate program for upgrading wood stoves and fireplaces to compliant devices.
  • Bay Area residents who begin a chimney or fireplace remodeling project that costs over $15,000 and requires a building permit will only be allowed to install a gas-fueled, electric or EPA-certified device.
  • No wood-burning devices of any kind may be installed in new homes or buildings being constructed in the Bay Area. 

Exemptions

There are some exemptions to the Wood-Burning Devices Rule, allowing people in a few instances to burn wood during a Spare the Air Alert wood-burning ban.

As noted above,  anyone whose sole source of heat is a wood-burning device is required to utilize an EPA-certified device that is registered with the Air District for an exemption from the burn ban. An open hearth fireplace will not qualify for an exemption.

Spare the Air Alerts

In the past, wood burning was banned on Winter Spare the Air Days between November and the end of February.

However, beginning in 2020, wood burning will be banned throughout the year when a Spare the Air Alert is called due to high levels of fine particulate pollution from sources such as residential wood smoke or wildfires.

To find out whether a Spare the Air Alert is in effect:

Model Wood Smoke Ordinance

Since the Air District adopted the Wood-Burning Devices Rule, wood smoke pollution levels have decreased throughout the Bay Area. However, the terrain in certain areas can still trap smoke close to the ground, creating pockets of pollution that negatively impact public health.

To address these areas, the Air District developed the Model Wood Smoke Ordinance, which includes several options for reducing localized wood smoke. This model ordinance can be used by cities and counties to adopt or update ordinances, depending on the needs of the community. View the Quick Reference Guide  for more information.

You can also view a table listing cities and counties that have adopted an older model wood smoke ordinance, along with key provisions of that ordinance.

Contact Us

Compliance & Enforcement
General Compliance Information

415.749.4795

Compliance & Enforcement
Compliance Assistance

415.749.4999

Planning and Climate Protection
Rule Development

415.749.4786

Contact Us

Spare the Air Status
No Wood Burning
Spare the Air Status
  • Tuesday,
    8/11

    No Spare the Air Alert in Effect

Last Updated: 3/11/2020