Reno, Sparks Nev. Nov. 2, 2021 – The Washoe County Health District (WCHD) Air Quality Management Division (AQMD) burn code has returned to let residents know if using wood-burning fireplaces and stoves is allowed, discouraged or prohibited. The goal is to maintain healthy air quality for all residents.

AQMD is advising those with wood-burning fireplaces and stoves to “Keep It Clean – Know The Code,” particularly in autumn and winter months. The green, yellow or red updates can be found on our website, on social media or on most local news weather segments/pages.

“Wood burning in fireplaces and wood stoves during winter months accounts for around 40 percent of wintertime fine particulate matter in the Truckee Meadows,” Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick said. “The harmful emissions can end up in our lungs and pass into our blood stream causing both respiratory and cardiovascular health problems.”

Sign up for Washoe County Air Quality updates here.

The “Green, Yellow, Red Burn Code” program applies to specific zip codes from Washoe Valley extending up to, and including, Silver Knolls. The code addresses all solid fuels including wood, pellets and fire logs. Burning coal and garbage is prohibited.

know the burn code

Learn more about the Burn Code Here

Since 1987, AQMD has used the Burn Code Program and it has led to significantly better air quality in the region. Residents can go to www.OurCleanAir.com, call 775-785-4110, follow AQMD on Twitter or Facebook, or watch their local TV meteorologists/read the newspaper to get daily burn code status.

Citizens concerned about burn code violations can call 775-784-7200. Those with wood burning as a sole source of heating may apply for an exemption from the code. Long term exposure to wood smoke can lead to decreased lung function, aggravated asthma, irregular heartbeat, heart attacks, premature death in people with heart or lung disease and increased susceptibility to heart and vascular disease for postmenopausal women.

AQMD implements clean air solutions that protect the quality of life for the citizens of Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through community partnerships along with programs and services such as air monitoring, permitting and compliance, planning, and public education. The AQMD is delegated authority to implement the Clean Air Act (CAA) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As part of the delegation, the AQMD must have regulations in place that demonstrate how the division plans on maintaining the health based National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

The Washoe County Health District is nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board and has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. More info can be found here.