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Check Before You Burn

Check Before You Burn ended on February 28.

Thank you for your compliance.

Download the free Sacramento Region Air Quality app to get the daily air quality forecast.



Every year from November through February the SacMetro AQMD wood burning regulation, Rule 421 Mandatory Episodic Curtailment Of Wood And Other Solid Fuel Burning, prohibits the use of all wood and pellet-burning appliances, including certified appliances and pellet stoves and inserts when fine particle pollution (PM2.5) is forecast to be high. This law applies to residents and businesses in unincorporated Sacramento County, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Isleton, Rancho Cordova and Sacramento.  

Check Before You Burn is the public outreach program implemented by the SacMetro AQMD . The program provides the public with the same day and next day burn status. You can check the daily burn status and historical data on the Spare The Air website.

​Mandatory Curtailment Days

Except for those who have an exemption or waiver (see section below), mandatory curtailment days apply to anyone 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 firelogs and pellets in any device.

Stage 1 - No Burn Unless Exempt: It is illegal to burn unless you are using an EPA certified fireplace insert or stove, or pellet stove, and they do not emit visible smoke.

Burning Discouraged: The SacMetro AQMD asks you to voluntarily not burn.

Legal to Burn: There are no restrictions to burn.

​Exemptions and Waivers

For individuals with financial hardship or those living in homes where a wood burning device is the only source of heat, you may be considered exempt from SacMetro AQMD Rule 421 by completing the Request for Exemption from the Mandatory Curtailment of Wood Burning.

Hardship Waiver: The SacMetro AQMD may approve a Hardship Waiver for those who have a compelling economic reason. To apply, fill out the Hardship Waiver form below and submit with all required information. Income and circumstances are considered. The SacMetro AQMD uses the State of California Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) local income guidelines as a starting point. If you have questions or concerns about qualifying please contact us.

Sole Source of Heat: Households that do not have any other source of heat are exempt from the provisions of the rule. By filing a sole source exemption, the SacMetro AQMD will have your residence on file as being exempt. If your heater breaks down temporarily, you may also file for this exemption until repairs are made.


Certain other exemptions may apply. 

Please contact the SacMetro AQMD at (916) 874-4800 for more information.

​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 of Rule 421 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 SacMetro AQMD 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 (NOV): Repeat violators will be issued an NOV and are subject to fines as determined by the SacMetro AQMD Mutual Settlement Program. See Violations & Settlements for more information about this program.

​Useful Information

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