Multnomah County Wood Smoke Curtailment Rules

The Board of Multnomah County Commissioners adopted an ordinance in January, 2018 that limits the use of wood-burning stoves and fireplaces on rare days from October through February when air is stagnant and pollution builds over the county.

During these months, health officials will conduct forecasting with the National Weather Service and neighboring jurisdictions to identify poor air quality days. When conditions suggest an upcoming inversion as well as other weather conditions, they might issue a yellow alert recommending residents voluntarily refrain from burning, or a red alert that prohibits burning for most people.

A red alert will trigger a 24 hour-long no-burn notice to residents across Multnomah County. Health officials will notify community members through PublicAlerts (link is external), Facebook (link is external) and Twitter (link is external), on the county website, local media and partnerships with local governments.

Health officials estimate conditions will meet the standards for red alerts, an average of three to five days per year. The goal is that timely curtailments will keep the region in compliance with federal air quality standards set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Officials don’t expect there will be a lot of days, but Co8unty officilas feel this is the right step to take as Multnomah County may come close to violating national air quality standards in the future. 

Sponsored by commissioners Sharon Meieran and Jessica Vega Pederson, the ordinance also recognizes how critical wood heat is for certain people and situations. 

The ordinance exempts:

Low-income households.

Those whose sole source of heat is wood stoves.

Households that burn wood a necessary supplement to cleaner fuels.

Burning during "emergency conditions."

Burning when other sources of heat are temporarily not functioning.

Any EPA-certified stove rated to emit no more than 2.5 grams of particle pollution per hour (basically pellet stoves).

To view the entire ordinance, click HERE


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