Stoves that are exempt from burning restrictions
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-certified Phase III stoves or inserts.
Colorado-approved pellet stoves or inserts.
Colorado-approved masonry heaters.
Where burning restrictions apply
Pollution Action Day restrictions generally apply to seven counties in metro Denver:
Adams and Arapahoe counties west of Kiowa Creek.
Fuel type doesn’t matter
All wood burning appliances (even if certified) may only burn clean, dry, untreated wood. Materials that shall not be burned include: whole tree stumps (must be chipped), tires, chemicals, plastic, construction debris, and trash.
All wood-burning appliances (e.g. stoves, fireplaces, masonry heaters, fire pits, furnaces, boilers) are subject to 20% opacity requirements if fuel is not clean, dry wood or if the use is for commercial purposes
Uncertified stoves, heaters or conventional fireplaces, regardless of the type of fuel, must not be operated on air quality Action Days in the restricted area.
Approved pellet stoves are exempt
If your stove is your sole source of heat
No exemptions for individual stoves
Most local municipalities in the restricted area enforce indoor burning bans on air quality Action Days through local ordinances. The Air Pollution Control Division has enforcement jurisdiction only in areas without local ordinances. Contact your local government/municipality to inquire about enforcement procedures.
For areas under state regulation:
- After an alleged violation is reported, the division contacts the party involved to inform them of the regulations, limitations, and requirements to encourage compliance.
- If the party allegedly responsible does not voluntarily comply, the division begins an investigation.
- If investigators find a violation of state regulations, the division may pursue formal enforcement initiated with a notification of the violation and an enforcement conference between the responsible party and state regulators
- Formal enforcement is typically resolved with one of three settlement options:
- If it is determined that no violation occurred, then the case is closed out with a no-further action letter
- If it is determined that a violation occurred, then the division calculates a civil penalty and offers to resolve the case with a Compliance Order on Consent to ensure future compliance
- If the alleged violation cannot be resolved through the typical settlement process, then the division may issue a Compliance Order with compliance requirements and a penalty
- State statute allows the division to assess civil penalties up to $15,000 per day per violation
New installations in metro Denver
“Clean” burning non-EPA Phase III stoves
EPA Phase III standards
The previous usage of the term "Phase II" regarding wood stoves in Colorado has now been superseded by the term "Phase III".
Regulation No. 4 defines an EPA Phase III Certified wood-burning stove as that which meets the emission standards set forth in Section II.A.
Part 3 of that section states "(State Only) On or after May 15, 2020, no person shall advertise to sell, offer to sell, sell, or install a new wood-burning stove in Colorado unless it meets the emission standards set forth in 40 CFR Part 60, Section 60.532(b) or (c) (2015)."
Therefore, the current requirements of Reg. 4 for wood burning stoves is in direct accordance with current EPA Phase III guidelines.
Stoves on the "exempt from certification list"
Selling a used, uncertified wood stove
Conventional masonry fireplaces
Approved pellet stoves
How to tell if it’s an Action Day
To determine if it is an air quality Action Day and for more information, please visit our air quality website.
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