Información en español
During late fall and early winter, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) asks residents to participate in its "Check Before You Burn" program by not burning wood in fireplaces when unhealthful air quality is forecast. Under the program -- intended to help improve wintertime air quality --SCAQMD may issue mandatory no-burn alerts from November 1 through the end of February.
No-burn alerts are issued for 24-hour periods for residential wood-burning fireplaces, backyard fire pits and wood stoves when emissions and stagnant weather conditions raise fine particulate pollution to unhealthy levels. Alerts are typically issued for the entire South Coast Air Basin, which encompasses all of Orange County and the non-desert portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
There are three ways you can Check Before You Burn:
- E-Mail Notification Program
Sign up to receive Air Alerts on air quality and to be notified when a mandatory no-burn alert has been issued for your neighborhood.
- Check Before You Burn Map
Visit the Check Before You Burn map on our website for daily forecast information.
- Toll-Free Phone Number
Call 866-966-3293 for daily Check Before You Burn information.
The SCAQMD also encourages you to take the pledge to Check Before You Burn.
Information on wood burning from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
Information on Wood Burning from the California Air Resources Board (CARB):
Studies and research on wood smoke health hazards:
"Scientific studies confirm that wood smoke contains harmful particles that can trigger breathing problems, exacerbate asthma, and even cause lung and heart disease. The American Lung Association of California is a long-time advocate for controls on wood smoke pollution because everyone deserves the right to breathe clean air in their home and neighborhood. We appreciate the air district's efforts to provide flexibility and support to low-income families, people living in mountainous areas, and others affected by wood smoke."
– American Lung Association of California
"In a study funded by the SCAQMD, my colleagues and I evaluated the relationship of 40,856 cardio-respiratory hospital admissions to wildfire-related particulate matter (PM2.5) during catastrophic wildfires that struck Southern California in October 2003. As reported in an article in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, we found during heavy smoke conditions of 70 μg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter) PM2.5 there was an estimated 34% more hospital admissions for asthma, and similarly large increases in admissions for acute bronchitis, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Although indoor and outdoor concentrations of wood smoke from fireplaces are typically far less than those from wildfires, smoke from wood burning in homes contains the same harmful compounds as wildfire smoke."
– Dr. Ralph Delfino, Associate Professor of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of California, Irvine