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Things to do > Reduce Wood Smoke Pollution
Wood smoke is harmful to your health

It produces fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) pollution that not only affects your lungs, but is so small that it gets into your bloodstream and can affect your heart.

Residential wood smoke is a common source of health problems, odor and reduced visibility

In Sacramento County alone, it causes almost 50% of the PM 2.5 problem from November to February, which is why the Check Before You Burn law exists.

On a Legal to Burn day, follow these tips to reduce wood smoke:

Start your fire with softwood kindling

Softwoods (pine, fir) are generally low in density, ignite easily, burn fast and hot so they smoke less.

Burn only dry hardwood

Hardwoods (oak, cherry) are denser and burn slower and more evenly, producing less smoke.

Burn only seasoned firewood

Firewood should dry, or season, a minimum of 6 to 12 months before splitting. Seasoned firewood by definition contains 20 percent moisture or less by weight.

Cover and elevate your stored wood

Stack wood one foot or more above the ground and cover the top to keep dew and rain off the wood. Never burn wet or moist wood because it will cause heavy smoke.

Never burn garbage, plastic, glossy paper, painted or treated wood

Burning these materials can produce harmful fumes and are illegal to burn at all times.

Give your fire plenty of room

A fire with a good air supply produces less smoke so don't close the damper or air inlets too tightly.

Watch your chimney for smoke

If you see smoke then the wood is not burning efficiently. The darker the smoke, the more pollutants it contains and the more fuel is being wasted.

Make sure wood stove and fireplace inserts fit the heating needs of the home

Don't buy more power than you need

Have your chimney inspected and cleaned once a year

Chimneys should be cleaned professionally to remove creosote buildup. Creosote can fuel a chimney fire that can burn down your house.

If you live in Sacramento County, call 877-NOBURN-5 (877-662-8765) from November through February to Check Before You Burn. A recorded message will tell you the daily burn status.