Home Wood Heating Advisory
LRAPA issues daily HWH advisories during this season. It means that everyday at 2 PM, an advisory will be issued for wood burning and will go into effect from 4 PM for 24 hours. These advisories come in three colors: green, yellow, and red. Read our HWH advisory brochure.
Green advisories mean that air quality is clear enough for you to use your woodstove or fireplace. However, there is a limit to how much visible smoke you can produce. It is illegal to have thick smoke coming from your chimney stack. You want your smoke to be barely visible and as light as possible. You can get fined for having smoke that is more than 40% opacity in Eugene and Springfield and more than 20% opacity in the city of Oakridge. See the description and examples of opacity below.
Yellow advisories are cautionary warnings about air quality. It is predicting conditions to be stagnant, meaning that smoke may not ventilate well in our area. This can create health issues for you, your family, and your neighbors. While it is still legal to use your woodstove or fireplace, we strongly encourage people to use other forms of heat like electric, propane, or natural gas. The opacity standards still apply during the yellow advisories.
Red advisories mean that wood burning is banned. There are only a handful of days in the year when red advisories are issued. However, it is critical to comply with the ban at this time because it means the air quality is so poor that it can have major adverse health effects on you, your family, or your neighbors. You may only use your woodstove or fireplace during a red advisory IF you have an approved exemption letter from LRAPA. You can apply for a financial need-based exemption letter here.
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With the onset of colder weather, fireplace and wood stove usage increases dramatically in Lane County. This results in large quantities of particulate matter being released into the local air shed. Wood smoke contains over 200 chemicals and compound groups. These toxins cause a number of problems when inhaled. Although these chemicals may effect sensitive individuals first, they have a detrimental effect on all people.
Is Burning Allowed?
Lane County has a Home Wood Heating Advisory Program that lets people know when air quality is becoming unhealthy and informs them if burning is allowed. A person is in violation of the program if their home's chimney emits visible smoke during a "red" advisory. The program is mandatory in Eugene, Springfield, Oakridge, and voluntary throughout the rest of the county. LRAPA understands that pollution has no boundaries and asks that all local residents abide by the advisory program.
The system uses a simple red, yellow, green system to indicate the daily advisory from October 1 thru May 31.
- A green advisory means air quality is good and burning is allowed.
- A yellow advisory indicates that air quality is deteriorating and burning is cautioned against.
- A red advisory indicates that air quality is poor and burning is prohibited. Pellets stoves may be used if they produce are no visible emissions.
Please make sure that the opacity levels of the smoke from your chimney or stack remains transparent and easy to see through. The smoke should be barely visible at the outlet of your chimney or stack when you are using dry wood and burning hot and clean. The Eugene and Springfield ordinances allow for up to 40% opacity, meaning it should be fairly easy to see through the smoke plume. The Oakridge ordinance allows for up to 20% opacity.
100% opacity means the smoke plume is a solid color and one is unable to see through the plume. At 10% opacity one is able to barely detect smoke emissions. At 20% opacity a faint smoke plume would be identifiable. At 40% opacity a smoke plume is easily identifiable, but still transparent enough to see through the plume a contrasting background. Opacity levels of up to 20% generally indicate efficient combustion. Above 20% opacity indicates inefficient combustion.
Both of the following photos show chimneys that are in use. Which does yours look like, and is it in compliance with the daily advisory?
|Cherry||25||Pine, Lodge Pole
||19||Walnut, Black / English