First Yellow Burn Code issued; use of wood-burning devices ‘discouraged’ in Washoe County

Dec 11, 2023

Reno, Sparks, Nev. Dec. 11, 2023 – The Northern Nevada Public Health – Air Quality Management Division (AQMD) has issued a Yellow Burn Code, which discourages residents from using a wood-burning device temporarily until air pollution in our area improves. Reducing or stopping burning now can help prevent unhealthy air quality and a Red Burn Code.

Residents with a fireplace, wood stove, pellet stove or other wood-burning device are asked to reduce or stop use of the device for at least 24 hours. The burn code is updated at 3 p.m. PST on every day and you can check the burn code on our website at, on our X (formerly Twitter) page, on our Instagram page, on our Facebook page, or during the weather segment of your local news broadcast.

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.

Wood burning in fireplaces and wood stoves during winter months accounts for around 40 percent of wintertime fine particulate matter in the Truckee Meadows. The harmful emissions can end up in lungs and pass into the blood stream causing both respiratory and cardiovascular health problems. 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.

Learn more about the Burn Code

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 to maintain the health based National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

Please note the Washoe County Health District changed its name to Northern Nevada Public Health on Aug. 31, 2023. More information is here.

Northern Nevada Public Health (NNPH) 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 District Board of Health. NNPH 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.