In March 2008, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) adopted a rule establishing mandatory wood-buring curtailment within its jurisdiction. Although the curtailments went into effect Nov. 1, no restrictions will be imposed on Hill residents.

The mandatory wood-burning curtailments would be possible from November through February and only on days and in specific areas when poor air quality is forecast. This is defined as when pollutant levels exceed the federal health standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter.

However, Native American ceremonial fires, households where wood is the sole source of heat, households above 3,00 feet elevation, low-income households and households without natural gas service will be exempt from the wood-burning curtailments.

Based on current average air quality conditions, curtailments could occur about 15 times each winter.

There are no restrictions on the sale of seasoned firewood (less than 20 percent moisture content) at any time during the year. Properly seasoned wood is darker, has cracks in the end grain and sounds hollow when smacked against another piece of wood, according to SCAQMD.

The rule, however, does specify that commercial firewood facilities may not sell green firewood (greater than 20 percent moisture content) from July through February. This restriction is only for commercial firewood facilities that have a business license and does not apply to private parties that trim or remove trees and give away or sell small amounts of firewood.