When can I open/barrel burn?
It depends on where you live. Open/barrel burning is prohibited within the Air Quality Maintenance Area (AQMA) from November 1 through February 29. Other than those months, or if you live outside the AQMA, burning is allowed provided the ventilation index (VI) is adequate and there are no fire danger risks (call 776-7007 to hear the daily burn status). Remember, this applies to unincorporated Jackson County as there may be further restrictions within cities. See Open/Barrel Burning for more information.

What can I burn?
It's easier to know what you can't burn. Prohibited materials include household garbage, plastic, wire insulation, automobile parts, asphalt, petroleum products or treated materials, rubber, asbestos, animal remains, animal or vegetable matter resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking or service of food, any material which emits dense smoke or noxious odors. This applies to open/barrel burning AND solid fuel burning devices such as woodstoves.
Do I need a burn permit before I can open/barrel burn?
Yes. Contact your appropriate fire district to obtain a burn permit.
Am I in the AQMA?
The Air Quality Maintenance Area boundary is the same as the Department of Environmental Quality's Inspection and Maintenance Boundary (I&M Boundary). If you have to take your vehicle to the I&M Station, you're in the AQMA.  Click here to find out if you are inside the AQMA.
What is the ventilation index (VI)?
The VI is the National Weather Service's indicator of the relative degree of air circulation for a specified area and time period. Basically it is a measurement of the air's ability to "clean" itself. The afternoon VI is predicted by analyzing information acquired from a weather balloon sent up early each morning from the National Weather Service in Medford (located by the airport). VI of 0-199 = poor ventilation, 200-400 = fair, 401-599 = good, 600+ = very good.
Why does Jackson County have poor ventilation during the winter?
The Rogue Valley has some of the worst ventilation in the country. One of the reasons for this is winter temperature inversions. Because of our unique weather and topography, sometimes cold air becomes trapped in the valley beneath warmer air. The cooler air, because of its greater density, settles close to the ground, and the warmer air forms a blanket above it in a temperature inversion. Because the winter days are short, often the sun can't warm the cold lower air enough for it to rise out of the valley. Pollutants such as wood smoke and automobile exhaust are trapped in this cooler air.
Is the Wood Burning Advisory (Red, Yellow, Green Days) the same as the Open Burning Advisory?
No. The Wood Burning Advisory is only for solid fuel burning devices (woodstoves, fireplaces, etc.). The Green, Yellow, and Red days of the Wood Burning Advisory correspond to levels of particulate matter in the air. Burning in solid fuel devices is restricted on Yellow and Red days. For more information see Wood Burning Advisory.

The Open Burning Advisory is for open/barrel burning. It is based on the predicted afternoon ventilation index (see definition above) and fire danger risks (e.g., high winds).
Does my woodstove need to be certified?
A certified woodstove was manufactured after 1985 and has a permanently affixed Oregon D.E.Q or a U.S. EPA certification label. Obviously many homes built prior to 1985 have uncertified woodstoves that were installed when the house was built. This is okay. However, it is unlawful for any new or used solid fuel heating device to be installed in Jackson County that is not certified.  Furthermore, as of April 8, 2007, all non-certified solid fuel heating devices are required to be removed when a house is sold. Finally, if your woodstove is not certified and you live in the AQMA, burning is prohibited on Yellow and Red days. There are exemptions available for medical, low-income, and special needs.
What are the health effects of smoke?
Smoke contains chemical compounds. Among these are carbon monoxide (CO), benzene, formaldehyde, and particulate matter (PM2.5). CO binds with hemoglobin in the blood so that the blood cannot utilize oxygen. CO is 200 times more likely to bind to blood than oxygen. Because blood likes to attach to CO more than oxygen, asphyxiation can occur in the presence of oxygen. Benzene and formaldehyde are known to cause cancer. PM2.5 particles are small enough to bypass our bodies natural defenses. The particles lodge in lung tissue and remain for up to a decade. Chemicals stuck to the surface of these PM2.5 particles can cause cancer and other lung ailments. Both CO and PM2.5 are respiratory irritants.