What is a no-burn alert?
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) issues a 24-hour no-burn alert for residential fireplaces, outdoor fire pits and wood stoves when emissions and stagnant weather cause unhealthy levels of fine particulate pollution. Alerts are issued each year from November 1 through the last day of February, typically for the entire South Coast Air Basin. During a no-burn alert, SCAQMD requires that residents 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 (PDF).
How do I know if a no-burn alert has been issued?
Residents can obtain no-burn alert information by:
Signing up for SCAQMD Air Alerts sent via e-mail;
Using SCAQMD’s interactive residential no-burn alert map by entering an address or ZIP code in the search area;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 alerts.
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;
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).
Frequently Asked Questions
on Check Before You Burn