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Burn Wise

Ordinances and Regulations for Wood-Burning Appliances

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New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Residential Wood Heaters

These EPA standards govern the manufacture and sale of wood stoves, and certain wood burning fireplace inserts, built after 1988.

EPA’s Regulatory Actions for Residential Wood Heaters - EPA's New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for residential wood heaters fall under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. The standards govern the manufacture and sale of new residential wood heating devices and do not apply to existing wood stoves and other wood heaters installed in peoples' homes.

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State Action - Laws, Fees and Taxes


The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment posts wood-burning advisories  on its website. During red advisories, mandatory residential burning restrictions generally apply to everyone in the 7-county Denver-Boulder metro area below 7,000 feet. Exceptions include those who use EPA-certified wood burning stoves, other EPA-certified wood heaters, Colorado approved masonry heaters, or those whose stoves or fireplaces are a primary source of heat.

Colorado Regulation No. 4 (47pp, 667K) applies to the sale and installation of wood-burning appliances and the use of certain wood-burning appliances during high pollution days.

NOTE: Colorado has not yet revised this regulation to require certification of new residential wood stoves, pellet stoves, hydronic heaters, and forced-air furnaces pursuant to the U.S. EPA’s revised subpart AAA and subpart QQQQ.


The state of Idaho offers taxpayers who buy new wood stoves, pellet stoves, or natural gas or propane heating units for their residences a tax deduction to replace old, uncertified wood stoves.


Michigan's Model Ordinance for Outdoor and Open Burning includes language for restrictions or bans on outdoor wood-fired boilers and patio wood-burning units.


The State of Montana allows resident individuals to claim an income tax credit of up to $500 for installing a recognized nonfossil form of energy generation or heating, including low-emission wood or biomass combustion devices, in their principal residence. If necessary, the credit may be carried over for up to four years after the first year it is claimed.


The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has authority to operate and enforce a program to curtail residential solid fuel heating during periods of air stagnation.  Sale and installation of uncertified wood stoves are prohibited. When a house is sold, all used, uncertified solid fuel burning devices, other than cookstoves, in or on the property must be removed and destroyed. DEQ's Heat Smart Program is available for those buying or selling woodstoves. Solid fuel burning devices used in Oregon must meet emission performance standards established under ORS 468A.465 (Certification requirements for new solid fuel burning devices) and by ensuring compliance with ORS 468A.460 (Policy) to 468A.515 (Residential solid fuel heating curtailment program requirements). Oregon also provides a State tax credit for high efficiency wood and pellet stoves.


The Washington Department of Ecology provides information about burn bans, which wood burning devices are legal in Washington, why wood smoke is harmful to health, and how to reduce the smoke from your wood burning device. They have established wood stove emission performance standards that in some respects are more stringent than EPA’s 2015 NSPS. In addition, the state assesses a $30 fee on the sale of every wood-burning device to fund education and enforcement of wood burning device rules.  


Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Model Ordinance - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has issued a model ordinance for municipalities to use for regulating outdoor burning, open burning and burning of refuse. The model ordinance includes language for restrictions or bans on outdoor wood-fired boilers.


Vermont has compiled a state listing of regulatory action for hydronic heaters.

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Model Rules and Codes

  • NESCAUM Model Rule - model rule that State and local agencies can use to regulate hydronic heater emissions.
  • Examples of Outdoor Furnace Codes - provides samples of local codes for municipalities, including information like setback restrictions, stack locations, and restrictions on types of fuel.

Community and Local Agency Action - Laws and Ordinances

Certain jurisdictions have established legal requirements to reduce wood smoke. For example, some communities have restrictions on installing wood-burning appliances in new construction. The most common and least restrictive action is to limit use at those times when air quality is threatened. The appropriate agency issues an alert, similar to the widespread Ozone Action Day alerts.

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Albuquerque, NM - City woodburning ordinance 9-5-4.1 and burn restrictions.

Bay Area Air Quality Management District (San Francisco), CA - When the district issues a “Winter Spare the Air Alert,” it is illegal to burn wood.  Effective November 1, 2016, new building construction may no longer include the installation of wood-burning devices, including fireplaces, EPA certified wood stoves or inserts, or pellet-fueled devices.

Bay Area (San Francisco), CA - Model ordinance with a number of options more stringent than the Bay Area AQMD- wide rule.

Bernalillo County (Albuquerque), NM - 20.11.22 New Mexico Administrative Code – Woodburning

Chico, CA – A local ordinance includes a mandatory curtailment as part of the Chico municipal code Title 8, Chapter 8.32; it is voluntary in the rest of the county.

Denver and North Front Range - Mandatory bans on "action" days during the annual high air pollution season, with some exceptions.

Lagrande, OR - Voluntary curtailment of wood stove use for heat based on daily advisories.

Laguna Beach CA, city ordinances - Any “major remodel” to a single-family residence requires retrofit of existing wood-burning fireplaces to comply with U.S. EPA Phase II emission limits by using a qualified retrofit insert, converting the existing wood-burning fireplace to gas-only use or other approved device.

Puget Sound, WA (Kitsap, King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties) - Air-quality burn bans temporarily restrict some or all indoor and outdoor burning, usually called when weather conditions are cold and still. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency uses current and forecasted conditions to decide when a burn ban is needed.

Puget Sound agency regulations specify limits on visibility and opacity, making it illegal to “smoke out” neighbors. The 2015 Wood Stove Rule in the Tacoma-Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone requires residents to remove, or render inoperable, any uncertified wood stove (most are more than 25 years old) by September 30, 2015.

San Joaquin Valley APCD, CA - Rule 4901 - Existing wood stoves must be replaced with an EPA certified wood stove when a home is sold. Only pellet stoves, gas stoves, and EPA-certified wood stoves can be sold. Wood-burning limited on days when air pollution approaches unhealthy levels. Limits on the number of wood stoves or fireplaces that can be installed in new residential units. Wood-burning curtailment is required on days when air pollution approaches unhealthy levels (Level 1 & 2).

Santa Clara County and The City of Palo Alto, CA - Burn bans: Stage 1, use only certified stoves; Stage 2, use wood stove only if it's the primary heat source. The installation of new wood-burning stoves or fireplaces is banned.

Southwest Clean Air Agency, WA (Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties) - During periods of stagnant air or temperature inversions, the SWCAA may issue burn bans. A Stage 1 Burn Ban prohibits the use of all fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves and inserts. Uncertified units are typically older than 1990 and lack a certification label on the back of the unit. All outdoor burning is also prohibited. A Stage 2 Burn Ban prohibits all wood heating, including certified units. All outdoor burning is also prohibited.

Yolo-Solano AQMD has initiated "Don't Light Tonight," a voluntary program that encourages residents not to use wood stoves and fireplaces when air pollution approaches unhealthy levels. The district also encourages cleaner burning techniques and switching to cleaner burning technology.

EPA Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and 271 Native Tribes) - The Federal Air Rules for Reservations (FARR) apply within exterior boundaries of 39 Indian Reservations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington to ensure that reservation residents have air-quality protection similar to that outside reservations.  During an air stagnation advisory or alert, EPA R10 will request air-pollution sources to take voluntary actions to reduce their emissions. People should not use wood stoves or fireplaces unless they provide their only source of heat. Except for cultural and traditional fires, open burning is banned during an air stagnation advisory, alert, warning, or emergency.

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