Utah Department of Environment Quality
Sometimes during winter months, a layer of cold air is confined within the Wasatch Front valleys by the
surrounding mountains. Above the cold, dense layer is warm air. This inversion acts much like a lid,
trapping pollutants within the cold air. In addition to the particulates emitted by automobiles, woodburning
stoves and fireplaces can also contribute to air pollution in Utah. The “Red Light, Green Light”
program was created to curtail wood burning along the Wasatch Front during the winter inversions.
Fine particles such as those in soot and dust can become lodged in delicate lung tissue, decreasing lung function - a particularly hazardous situation for people with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Whenever pollution levels, measured by the amount of particulates in the air, reach a specific concentration, mandatory no-burn periods go into effect.
The residential WoodBurn control program is a program that uses an Unrestricted, Voluntary and Mandatory advisory format for the Wasatch Front area, to help control wood smoke emission between Nov. 1 and March 1, each year. This system is also used to advise industry operations and vehicle drivers.
- Unrestricted Action
- Wood and coal burning stoves or fireplaces may be used, but please use them in a proper
manner to reduce smoke emissions.
- Voluntary Action
- Voluntarily do not use wood and coal burning stoves or fireplaces. Reduce
vehicle use by consolidating trips. Industry should optimize operating conditions to minimize air pollution emissions.
- Mandatory Action
- Wood and coal burning stoves or fireplaces must not be used. Reduce vehicle use
by consolidating trips. Industry should optimize operating conditions to minimize air pollution emissions.