We hope you will voluntarily skip any unnecessary fires. Smoke from fires can affect you and your neighbors in various ways. Smoke can make symptoms and recovery from COVID-19 more difficult. Help spread the word, request a FREE lawn sign.
Burning Wood Produces Wood Smoke and Air Pollution
En Español: Contaminación del Aire por Humo de Leña
We have a wintertime air pollution problem. During fall and winter, Multnomah County sees a rise in pollution that comes from wood smoke. Check for burn restrictions before burning wood.
Wood smoke from home heating accounts for more than half of our fine particle pollution on the average winter day. These pollutants are harmful to human health.
Our air must meet federal standards for fine particle pollution under the Clean Air Act. We currently meet these standards but can be at risk if we have too many days of unhealthy air.
If we don’t clean up our air, we’ll face several issues:
- Health impacts - Breathing unhealthy levels of air pollution is not healthy. Health effects of wood smoke can affect everyone.
- Economic impacts - Federal funding for transportation (highway) projects could be at risk.
- Business impacts - Restrictions placed on large businesses located in Multnomah County, which may push jobs outside our community.
Ways to Reduce Wood Smoke
Heat Your Home with a Cleaner Fuel
- Use a cleaner heat source like an electric heat pump, or a furnace that uses electricity.
- Check local air quality conditions before you burn, every time.
- Remember, NEVER heat your home using a gas oven, kerosene heater, camping stove or BBQ. Using space heaters as your main heating source is also unsafe.
- Use Energy Trust of Oregon cash incentives to help pay for a new electric or natural gas-burning device.
- Uncertified wood stoves and inserts create twice as much air pollution as EPA-certified stoves. Switching to a certified device will help reduce the amount of fuel needed to warm your home.
- A tax credit may be available when you replace a wood or pellet stove that is at least 75 percent efficient. Learn more here.
- Burn only dry, split, well-seasoned wood. Properly seasoned wood is darker, weighs less, and sounds hollow when hit against another piece of wood.
- Keep wood covered and off the ground. Store it at least 12 months before burning.
- Build small, hot fires.
- Never burn trash or construction debris such as treated wood, painted wood or particle board. They make toxic smoke and can damage your stove.
Weatherize Your Home
You can help make your home warmer by adding insulation and sealing drafts around doors and windows.
- Community Energy Project - Free weatherization and insulation workshops
- Multnomah County Weatherization Program - Weatherization assistance for those with limited income
- EPA Burn Wise
- Check Air Quality Conditions (EPA AirNow)
- List of EPA Certified Wood Stoves
- Energy Trust of Oregon
Environmental Health Services
847 NE 19th Ave, Suite 350
Portland OR 97232 (MAP)