Check Before You Burn

The 12th season of Check Before You Burn, the residential wood-burning restrictions in the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, started Nov. 8.

This season the residential wood-burning curtailment rule incorporates a new declaration level that will allow residents with registered, clean-burning heating devices to use them more frequently than in previous years. Additionally, the air district is offering significantly more money to replace older units with newer devices that meet current EPA emission standards.

“The cooperation and understanding of the Valley’s residents has made this the single most cost-effective regulation the air district has adopted,” said Seyed Sadredin, the district’s executive director and air pollution control officer. “Because of this support, our winter air quality is much cleaner and much healthier.”

During Check Before You Burn season, which runs through February, the air district issues a daily wood-burning status by county. Declarations will now be either “No Restrictions — Burning Discouraged, No Burning Unless Registered,” or “No Burning.”

In order to be allowed to burn during days when the status is “No Burning Unless Registered,” residents must register their emission-compliant wood-burning devices with the air district. During the inaugural season of this program, there is no fee to register.

Residents can visit to register their device. For an explanation of the different curtailment levels, how to register a wood-burning device and how to get money to upgrade a device, the district has created a three-minute video that can be viewed at

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) the structure is exempt. Fireplace, stoves and inserts that run solely on gas or propane continue to be exempt from the rule.

To provide financial assistance to residents who wish to replace their older wood-burning devices with cleaner models, the district’s Burn Cleaner Fireplace and Wood Stove Changeout Program now offers $1,500 to eligible applicants and $2,500 to applicants who qualify for the low-income component. Another $500 is available to all applicants for installation costs for a gas device.

To get the daily burn status, sign up for email notifications and get more information about the Burn Cleaner program, visit Daily wood-burning declarations are also available by calling 1-800 SMOG INFO or by downloading the free iPhone app “Valley Air” from the App Store.

—San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District