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Check Before You Burn

​No Wood Burning Restrictions

The Sac Metro Air District's annual Check Before You Burn season has ended. It will start again on November 1, 2023.

For outdoor burning information (prescribed, agricultural, open, or recreational), please click here.

For the daily air quality forecast, please visit  SpareTheAir.com.

Check Before You Burn Season History

Wood Burning Status - Today and Tomorrow

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For outdoor burning information (prescribed, agricultural, open or recreational), please click here.

For the daily air quality forecast, please visit SpareTheAir.com.

Check Before You Burn Season History
Background

The Sac Metro Air District's annual Check Before You Burn season runs from November 1 through the end of February. Wood-burning regulation Rule  421 restricts or prohibits the use of all fireplaces, wood stoves, inserts, and pellet stoves when fine particle pollution (PM2.5) is forecast to be high. This law applies to residents and businesses in unincorporated Sacramento County, and the cities of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Isleton, Rancho Cordova, and Sacramento.  

Check Before You Burn is the public outreach program implemented by the Sac Metro Air District. The program provides the public with the same-day and next-day burn status. Residents may check this website for the burn status, call 1-877-NO-BURN-5 (1-877-662-8765), or follow the Air District on Twitter.

For the daily Air Quality Index (AQI) forecast, please visit the Spare The Air website.

​Burn Day Status Categories

These burn day status categories apply to anyone without an exemption operating a wood-burning device or lighting a fire in Sacramento County from November through February of each year. 

Stage 2 - All Burning Prohibited: It is illegal to burn any solid fuel, including wood, manufactured fire logs, and pellets, in any device.

Stage 1 - No Burn Unless ExemptIt is illegal to burn unless you use an EPA-certified fireplace insert or stove or pellet stove, and it does not emit visible smoke. 

Burning Discouraged: The  Sac Metro Air District asks you to voluntarily not burn.

Legal to Burn: There are no restrictions to burn. 

  • When it is Legal to Burn, please refer to the Wood Burning Handbook for tips on burning cleanly and efficiently, reducing smoke from wood burning, and alternatives to wood burning.

Air Quality Complaints

Please file a complaint if you observe burning on a day when burning is prohibited.  

The Sac Metro Air District investigates complaints related to dust, smoke, odors, overspray, and other potential air quality permit and rule violations.  Complaints can be filed online or by calling 279-207-1122  or 1-800-880-9025. 

​Resolving Penalties and Violations

Protecting public health and reducing the harmful effects of wood smoke in Sacramento County takes everyone's cooperation. Check Before You Burn is the law in Sacramento County and it is important to pay attention to Rule  421 requirements. First-time violators will be issued a Notice of Penalty. Second-time violators will be issued a Notice of Violation.

  • Notice of Penalty: Persons found in violation of Sac Metro Air District Rule 421 are subject to a first-time $50 penalty. As an alternative to paying the penalty, you may take and pass the Wood Smoke Awareness Training Exam.
  • Notice of Violation: Repeat violators will be issued a violation and are subject to fines as determined by the Sac Metro Air District Mutual Settlement Program. 

See Violations & Settlements for more information.

Exemptions

The Sac Metro Air District may consider exemptions to Rule  421 on the basis of financial hardship or for those living in homes where a wood-burning device is the only source of heat. 

  • Hardship Exemption:  Households with a compelling economic reason may be eligible for a hardship exemption. Income and circumstances are considered. The State of California Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) local income guidelines are used as a starting point in making a determination. 
  • Sole Source of Heat: Households that do not have any other source of heat are exempt from the provisions of the rule and are encouraged to file an exemption request to ensure the Sac Metro Air District has their residence on file as being exempt. A temporary exemption may also be requested until repairs are made if your heater breaks down.

Residents may file an Exemption Request online or submit a printed Exemption Request Form by U.S. mail. Please be sure to include all requested information and documentation when submitting an exemption request.

If you have questions or concerns about qualifying or have additional questions about how to request an exemption please contact us at 279-207-1122 ext 11. You may also email us at burning@airquality.org.

Toolkit 

Sacramento County agencies, businesses, and residents can help share information about Check Before You Burn using the below resources.

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