What is a no-burn alert? 

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) will issue a 24-hour no-burn alert for residential fireplaces and outdoor fire pits and wood stoves when stagnant weather raises fine particulate pollution to unhealthy levels. Alerts will be issued only during winter months (November 1 through the last day of February) for specific areas or the entire South Coast Air Basin, depending on forecast. During a no-burn alert, SCAQMD requires that residents in no-burn areas refrain from all indoor and outdoor wood burning. The wintertime program became mandatory on November 1, 2011 under the provisions of Rule 445 – Wood-Burning Devices. 

How do I know if a no-burn alert has been issued?

Residents can obtain no-burn alert information by: 

  • Using SCAQMD’s interactive residential no-burn alert map by entering an address or ZIP code in the search area;

  • Signing up for SCAQMD Air Alerts sent via e-mail; or

  • Calling 866-966-3293 for Check Before You Burn information.

How long will a no-burn alert last?

A no-burn alert is in effect for the 24-hour period from midnight on the day it is issued until midnight the following day. For example, an alert issued on a Monday is in place from Monday at midnight (just after 11:59 p.m. Monday) until Tuesday at midnight.

Is it okay to use manufactured/wax logs or a pellet-fueled device during a no-burn alert?

No. During a no-burn alert, residents should refrain from all solid-fuel burning, including manufactured wax/sawdust logs, pellet fuels, corn, coal, etc.

What about gas-log sets and other alternatives to wood burning?

A gaseous-fueled (natural gas or propane) device generates very small amounts of particulate matter compared to a wood-burning device and therefore is not subject to the residential no-burn alert. 

Visit here for information on financial assistance to convert a wood-burning fireplace or stove to a dedicated gaseous-fueled device. Incentive funds, when available, are on a first-come, first-served basis and may end at any time.

Are there exemptions to the mandatory no-burn days?

Yes. The exemptions, summarized below, are very limited and only apply under specific conditions. The exemptions under Rule 445 include:

  • Households above an elevation of 3,000 feet;

  • Wood-burning devices that are a household’s sole source of heat;

  • Low-income households;

  • Properties where there is no existing infrastructure for natural gas service within 150 feet of the property line; and

  • Ceremonial fires exempted under Rule 444 - Open Burning.

Refer to SCAQMD Rule 445 for a complete description of exemptions by clicking here (PDF, 49kb).

For more information about Healthy Hearths, contact us at HealthyHearths@aqmd.gov