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Fireplace use restrictions return for the season
The air pollution board asks that residents avoid heating their homes by burning wood, if possible. - photo by Photo Contributed

Should the weather actually turn chilly the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District wants people to check the daily wood-burning status before using their fireplace.

Check Before You Burn runs Nov. 1 through the end of February each year. The Air District issues a daily wood-burning status by county.

During winter, one of the largest sources of particulate pollution comes from residential wood burning. The Check Before You Burn program provides an opportunity for Valley residents to help reduce air pollution and improve public health throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

“The cooperation and understanding of Valley residents has made this the single most cost-effective clean air strategy the Air District has adopted,” said Samir Sheikh, the District’s executive director and air pollution control officer.

In order to take advantage of additional burn days, Valley residents can register their clean EPA Phase II wood or pellet burning device with the District by visiting

Valley residents wanting to switch out older wood-burning devices for a cleaner model can take advantage of the District’s Burn Cleaner grants which provide $1,000 for certified wood, pellet inserts, freestanding stoves or natural gas inserts or $2,500 for eligible low-income applicants for all devices. An additional $500 is available to all applicants for the installation costs on a natural gas device. To participate in this program please visit

“Residential wood smoke has significant impacts on public health, particularly in neighborhoods where residents live and play,” said Samir Sheikh. “By reducing wood burning and taking advantage of District grant programs to replace older high polluting devices, residents can play a key role in improving air quality in Valley neighborhoods and improving public health.”

There are two exceptions to wood-burning prohibitions: If the residence does not have another source of heat or if the residence does not have access to natural-gas service (even if propane is used). Residents may get exemption information at Additionally, fireplace inserts or stoves that run solely on gas or propane, and never burn wood, continue to be exempt from the rule. Wood-burning declarations also apply to outdoor devices and chimineas.