What Are “No Burn Days”?

no burn days

At some point in time, you’ve likely heard the phrase “no burn days”. What you might be wondering, however, is: what is a no burn day? 

We’re going to get into that below, explaining the meaning of a “no burn day” as well as how it impacts you and your fireplace. Ready? Let’s get started, shall we?

What Is a “No Burn Day?”

A “no burn day” is a day on which you’re forbidden from burning wood within a given municipality. These days are implemented as a means of maintaining clean air. 

On these days, all forms of burning are forbidden, whether the burning is being done in a fireplace, a wood stove, or outside. Generally speaking, it’s dictated by the number of particulates in the air. 

It’s important to note that “no burn days” tend to happen sporadically, and that they typically don’t occur on consecutive days. In other words, they’re temporary and have very little impact on those that use fireplaces and other wood-burning entities. 

Who Are “No Burn Days” Implemented By?

Now, you might be wondering: who implements “no burn days”? In most cases, they’re regulated by a state or local government, and, in particular, those governments’ clean air authorities. 

The criteria upon which these organizations base the action of a “no burn day” differ from area to area. However, if you Google “no burn day [your city or state]”, you can likely find these criteria. 

These organizations issue “no burn days” through the news, email, text, and more. If you have a fireplace or other wood-burning entity, you’re strongly advised to sign up for “no burn day” notifications with your city and state, if applicable. 

Understanding Stage 1 and Stage 2 Bans

Most cities and states have two stages of “no burn day” bans. We’ll discuss the specifics of each stage below. 

Stage 1 “No Burn Day” Bans

Stage 1 bans are implemented on occasions when particulate levels start to rise above their averages. These don’t indicate a dire situation, but instead indicate that if burning doesn’t stop, a dire situation could be created. 

On these days, all forms of outdoor burning are prohibited. So too is the use of wood fireplaces as well as the use of uncertified wood stoves. 

It’s important to note, however, that if you use a wood-burning fireplace as a means of heating your home, you’re still allowed to use it these days. However, you need to make sure that the smoke emitted from your fireplace isn’t visible. To ensure this, you have to use specific types of wood; ash wood is generally a good option for this. 

Stage 2 “No Burn Day” Bans

Stage 2 bans are much more restrictive and are usually implemented when particulate levels hit a dangerous level. The specific level is set by your state or city’s clean air organization. 

On the days that these are declared, all forms of burning are banned. This includes burning in wood fireplaces, both certified and uncertified wood stoves and pellet stoves, as well as outdoor burning. 

The exception, again, is if you use wood burning as a means of heating your home. 

Penalties for Burning on “No Burn Days”

Now, you might be wondering: what if you just ignore “no burn days”? What are the legitimate risks? What are the penalties for doing so?

Though exact penalties vary by municipality, in most municipalities, this will result in you paying a fine of some kind. This could be as little as a few hundred dollars or it could be as much as a few thousand dollars.

In most cases, the monetary value of the fine depends on the egregiousness of the crime. So, if you burnt a small pile of sticks outside because you were unaware that it was a “no burn day”, you might receive a fine of a few hundred dollars. If you had a massive bonfire that the entire town was invited to on a “no burn day”, your fine could very well reach quadruple digits. 

Ways to Keep the Smoke to a Minimum

As noted above, you’re generally allowed to burn for heating purposes, even on “no burn days”. The key to doing so is to keep the smoke to a minimum, almost to the point that you can’t see it. 

How do you go about doing this? One way is to use low-smoke woods. These include ash, oak, maple, and more. 

In addition, you should make sure that your wood is dry. Wet firewood will produce more smoke than dry.

You should also ensure that there’s ample airflow in the chimney. This means that you need to clean it on schedule. 

Finally, be sure not to burn any debris. You can burn debris on days that aren’t “no burn days”, though, even then, you should keep the debris burning to a minimum. 

“No Burn Days” Shouldn’t Affect You Much

Generally speaking, “no burn days” should affect you much as the owner of a fireplace. The key is to keep visible smoke to a minimum, something that can be done by burning specific types of wood. In short, you shouldn’t let the idea of “no burn day” determine whether or not you purchase a fireplace. 

Are you interested in purchasing a fireplace? If so, you’re in the right place. We here at Dreifuss Fireplaces have a wide variety of fireplaces for you to choose from. 

Browse through our available fireplaces right now! 

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