Do this one important thing before using your fireplace or wood stove this season

It’s the time of year when temperatures cool down and people begin to use their fireplaces. But local officials have an important reminder: from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28, you must “check before you burn.”

The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (District), is stressing the importance of checking projected air quality levels before using solid fuels like wood, pellet or manufactured fire logs in fires places or stoves. 

“It’s important to remember that smoke from fireplace burning is unhealthy to breathe, just like smoke from wildfires is unhealthy to breathe,” said Jamie Arno, Sac Metro Air District communications supervisor. “Both contain harmful, invisible particles that are small enough to enter the blood stream and pose serious health threats.”

Residents in Sacramento County — including the cities of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Isleton, Rancho Cordova and Sacramento — can check for a daily status of whether burning is allowed.

People also can call 1-877-NO-BURN-5 (1-877-662-8765) or download the free “Sacramento Region Air Quality” mobile phone app for a daily burn status.

Some exemptions are available to people who burn wood as their sole source of heat or who use certain types of fireplace inserts or heating stoves.

People found in first-time violation of Sac Metro Air District Rule 421 are subject to a first time $50 penalty or the option to take and pass a smoke awareness exam.

According to the District, wood burning causes more than 50 percent of the winter air pollution in Sacramento County.