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November 19, 2017
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Environmental Public Health Services

Wood Burning Advisory

Smoke from woodstoves and fireplaces can contribute significantly to air pollution in the fall and winter, especially during periods of air stagnation. The Wood Burning Advisory was developed to restrict burning in solid fuel devices (woodstoves, fireplaces, etc.) during high pollution episodes in the Air Quality Maintenance Area (AQMA) the Wood Burning Advisory designates days as green, yellow, or red depending on the amount of particulate matter in the air.  See Wood Stove and Open Burning or call 541-776-9000 to determine the daily Wood Burning Advisory forecast.

Note: The Wood Burning Advisory only applies to solid fuel burning devices NOT open/barrel burning. For information about open burning see Open and Barrel Burning.  Remember fireplaces are not certified unless you have a certified wood burning insert.

*Opacity: If the visibility of and object seen through smoke is reduced by 1/2, then the opacity is 50%. Low opacity is best achieved by burning dry wood in a hot fire with lots of oxygen.
What do the advisory colors mean?

 Wood Burning Restrictions
 Advisory  Woodstoves  Non-certified Woodstoves
RED  No Visible Smoke  No Burning
YELLOW  No Visible Smoke  No Burning
GREEN  50% Opacity* 50% Opacity*
     


A GREEN day means that the air in the Rogue Valley is predicted to be good.

A YELLOW day means a twenty-four hour period, beginning at 7:00 AM, when the PM2.5 levels are forecasted by the DEQ or the Jackson County Department of Health and Human Services to be approaching unhealthy levels.

A RED day means a twenty-four hour period, beginning at 7:00 AM, when PM2.5 levels are forecasted by the DEQ or the Jackson County Department of Health and Human Services to reach unhealthy levels.

Today's
  • Green Burn DayToday is a green burn day.

The Wood Burning Advisory is only
applicable for woodstoves and fireplaces
November through February.

The Wood Burning Advisory is only applicable to woodstoves and fireplaces November through February. It is not the same as the Air Quality Index (AQI) maintained by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Outdoor burning is regulated by other factors including the ventilation index and fire danger. For more information, see Open and Barrel Burning.

Certified and Non-Certified Woodstoves

A certified woodstove or fireplace insert was manufactured after 1985 and has a permanently affixed Oregon D.E.Q or a U.S. EPA certification label. If you do not know if your woodstove is certified, contact the Jackson County Air Quality Program at 541-774-8207.

Exemptions

You may be eligible for an exemption from the wood burning restrictions if you meet certain requirements. Only one type of exemption is issued for each household. The exemption must be renewed every year.

Economic Need Exemption: An exemption for an economic need to burn solid fuel for residential space heating purposes may be issued to heads of households who can show that their family income is less than eighty percent of the median income level for the Medford metropolitan area, as established by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Households that qualify for an exemption based on economic need may rely on a solid fuel burning device as the sole source of heat.

Special Needs: Upon a showing of special need, as further defined by administrative rule, a temporary exemption may be granted authorizing the burning of a solid fuel burning device, notwithstanding Section 1810.05(a)(1) and (2). "Special need" shall include, but not be limited to, occasions when a furnace or central heating system is inoperable, other than through the owner or operator's own actions or neglect.

Tips for Clean Burning

Burn small, hot fires: A hot fire will heat the stove up enough to burn the wood completely and cleanly. It will also reduce creosote buildup in the chimney and help avoid chimney fires.

Don't burn overnight: Nighttime fires are a major cause of air pollution, waste fuel, and can create a fire hazard. When you go to bed, open the damper and let your fire die completely - don't try to keep it overnight.

Oxygen: If the fire doesn't have enough air for efficient burning, combustion is less complete and the smoke contains particulates and harmful chemical compounds. To allow for more air, don't overstuff your stove.

Burn dry wood: Freshly cut wood should be split, stacked, covered, and allowed to dry and least six months before it's burned.

Don't burn garbage: Trash such as Christmas wrapping, plastic bags, and junk mail release toxic fumes in your house and around your neighborhood. You don't eat your trash, don't breathe it either.

For more information about woodstoves see Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.