February 9, 2018

relaxing by the fireplace

Multnomah County passed new rules that limit the use of wood stoves and fireplaces in the fall and winter.

Starting on February 12 through March 1, homeowners, renters and businesses in Multnomah County cannot use wood stoves, fireplaces or any outdoor wood burning devices on days when the air quality is forecasted to be poor. This includes:

  • Wood stoves
  • Fireplaces
  • Outdoor fire pits
  • Chimeneas

The ordinance makes exceptions for those who use wood exclusively to heat their homes, those with limited income, and during emergencies such as a power outage. There are no restrictions on wood or charcoal used for cooking.

These new rules apply seasonally from October 1 to March 1 each year.

Burning wood is one of the biggest sources of harmful air pollution Multnomah County. By not burning if you don’t need to, we can help keep the air healthy for children and people with asthma and other serious breathing conditions.

Wood smoke restrictions are common in other communities around Oregon, and are designed to protect public health and keep our region in compliance with national air quality standards.

If You Burn Wood in Fall and Winter

Check air quality conditions and burn status every time before you burn. Red means “stop.” Green means “go” (okay to burn).

If poor air quality is expected, Multnomah County will notify residents 24 hours before announcing a burn restriction (red) day. Watch for messages on the Health Department website, social media channels (Twitter, Facebook) and local news media.

In the future, you'll be able to sign up to receive burn restriction alerts via text message or email.

Wood Is the Only Way to Heat My Home

Burning restrictions do not apply to you if you only have a wood stove or fireplace to heat your main living space. Wood is your sole source of heat.

But, if your home has a permanently installed and working furnace or heating system--even if it’s disconnected from its fuel source--wood is not considered a sole source of heat. You cannot burn wood when red day restrictions are in effect.

My Heating System Is Too Costly

Burning restrictions do not apply to you if your total household income is 60% or less than the Oregon median income.

Emergency Conditions

Burning restrictions do not apply in the event of a power outage, service interruption or shortage, or failure of your main heating system. You can also burn wood if your heating system is overwhelmed by very cold temperatures and can’t make enough heat.

You Can Still Grill Out

The new ordinance does not apply to charcoal grills, smokers or wood fired ovens, so long as you’re only using them to cook food.

More Information

Multnomah County Wood Smoke Ordinance (92.26 KB)

Wood smoke complaints: 503-988-0035, woodsmokecomplaints@multco.us

Contact Us

Environmental Health Services
847 NE 19th Ave, Suite 350
Portland OR 97232 (MAP)