City of Chico Wood Burning Restrictions During November Through February

Chimney smoke from residential wood burning is a major source of winter time air pollution in Butte County, particularly in Chico.

Recognizing the link between the microscopic particles in smoke and serious health issues for sensitive groups, the Chico City Council approved an ordinance that restricts the use of woodstoves and fireplaces by Chico residents on poor air quality days. From November though February each year, wood burning within the Chico City limits will be restricted on only those days that the Butte County Air Quality Management District (BCAQMD) issues no-burn advisories through its annual “Check Before You Light” program.

There are exemptions to the mandatory restrictions if one or more of the following criteria are met:

  1. The wood burning device is a U.S. EPA Phase II certified wood stove or is a pellet stove, and is burned properly.
  2. The wood burning device is the sole source of interior heat.
  3. Electrical power is not available, such as during times of temporary service outages.
  4. The household obtains an economic hardship waiver. A waiver will be issued if the monthly household income is 80% or less than the median income for the area, adjusted for household size, as defined by the Federal Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD).

To obtain an exemption/waiver form, contact the City at 530-896-7800, or by email at

How to Know When Not to Burn

  1. Call the BCAQMD Burn Hotline at 530-332-9409, or toll free at 855- 332-9409.
  2. Receive Advanced Email Advisory Notifications - Sign up online.
  3. Receive Advisories on Twitter - Follow BCAQMD on Twitter at
  4. On the Web - Check the City’s website or the BCAQMD website..
  5. Check the Media - Burn Advisories will be issued to local newspapers and radio, and television stations.

Ways to Reduce Smoke When You Burn

  • Use only dry, well-seasoned wood.
  • Keep your chimney swept and ash bin clean to improve air flow and reduce smoke.
  • Stack wood loosely in your firebox, so plenty of air circulates.
  • Keep the flame active. Don't let your fire smolder overnight. Keep enough air in the fire to maintain a flame.
  • Check your chimney regularly to see how well your fire is burning.
  • When storing wood, stack it under cover in a dry ventilated