ONLY IN CALIFORNIA : Enjoying your cozy fireplace ? YOU WILL GO TO JAIL !!!

Real Estate Agent with MOVE HOME REALTY CalBRE#1422725


  YEP, here in the wacky west coast in Southern California, you too can go to jail for using wood logs in your own fireplace !  I heard this on the news the other day (KFIam) its a legitimate proposal.  Whats next ?Outlawing blue eyeshadow for blondes?  Now, we will have to hide the wood pile in our bomb shelters. OOPS !I DON'T HAVE A BOMB SHELTER OR A BASEMENT! I will just have to add a new basement to my husbands honeydo list. Now back to the subject of crazy stupid laws. New builders are already required to have gas fireplaces only. Classic homes with original fireplaces should be grandfathered in.I have copied below an article rebutting this inane proposal. 

 Up in Smoke: Common Sense   GuestWords
By Walter Moore
Use a fireplace, go to jail.
The Philosopher Kings of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) have decided that government must stop you from burning wood in your fireplace.

The AQMD -- which is funded with $125 million of your money each year - just made it illegal to install wood-burning fireplaces in new homes, and adopted regulations to stop you from using your existing fireplace on days they deem too polluted. In a region where massive wildfires are as routine as televised car chases, these kill-joys want to stop you from burning logs?  Are you kidding me?

We've got ten jillion cars and trucks stuck in traffic, idling, for about 18 out of every 24 hours.  We've got a governor who fires up the Gulfstream twice a day to commute from L.A. to Sacramento .  We've got
kids getting shot while minding their own business.  And yet we need a
new law to ban the burning of logs in fireplaces?  Really?

Maybe I've led a sheltered life, but I don't remember ever hearing about a coroner listing, as the cause of death, "lived in a city with wood-burning fireplaces."

Laws like this make you wonder what they're smoking at the AQMD. Wonder no more:  our city's representative on the AQMD's board is Jan Perry.  That's right:  the same City Council Member who wants to "protect" you from fast food in South L.A. because you're too fat and stupid to decide what to eat and where.

Remember common sense?  I really miss it, especially when it comes to people who have the power to tax and regulate.

People used to understand the concept of "priorities" and "reasonableness."  Now we've created so many agencies that they need to manufacture new problems to justify their continuing existence and ever-increasing funding.

The AQMD will never issue a press release saying, "The federal and state Environmental Protection Agencies, along with county and city agencies, have pretty much taken care of everything, and since we've gotten to the point of regulating wood-burning fireplaces, we recommend that our agency be disbanded."

Okay, enough ranting from me for one day.  I'll think I'll go buy a McBreakfast and light up a cigar just to spite the Philosopher Kings.

Comments (24)

Windy Hixson
Riverside Ca~h2o Homes Specialist



    Susan: Thank you for commenting on my 1st blog. You made me laugh, I never noticed the warning on the wrapper before. You sound like you have the same sense of humor as I.


Mar 13, 2008 07:00 AM
Windy Hixson
Riverside Ca~h2o Homes Specialist



  Mara:  Thank you for responding to my 1st blog.  The AQMD is talking about the same blue/red days that you have. The author of the article is running for the mayor's office. He has my vote already !

By the way, L.A. has had the cleanest air report this past year. 

Mar 13, 2008 07:12 AM
Peter Wolf
Coldwell Banker - Valley Village, CA
Think of it as living in the upside down world.  In this world, people who put piping hot cups of coffee between their legs in an automobile and get burned, can sue McDonald's for millions of dollars and win. Corporations that pollute the air and rivers get tax credits, while you go to jail for burning a log in your home.
Apr 13, 2008 07:21 AM
Windy Hixson
Riverside Ca~h2o Homes Specialist



  DONNA: Isn't it crazy that the AQMD wants consumers to stop using logs in their own fireplace! Of course we can't have our heaters on because that is bad too, using to much energy!  What are we to do with the homes that are considered HISTORIC ? Not use the fireplace? Change to gas and get taken off the Historic Register? AQMD should go look somewhere else for $$$$ not the everyday working people.

Apr 14, 2008 12:46 PM
Windy Hixson
Riverside Ca~h2o Homes Specialist


   PETER:I believe the same way you do. Somehow we the people can stop this stupid law from being enacted. I know a few years ago the AQMD was trying to pass a law that we could not use charcoal for our BBQ'S. Only propane BBQ'S were to be legal.  Don't have a fight with your neighbor or he might turn you in for using wood in your  fireplace.

Apr 14, 2008 12:56 PM
Mara Hawks
First Realty Auburn - Auburn, AL
Inactive-2012 REALTOR - Homes for Sale Auburn Real Estate, AL
I'd still rather flip a swith to turn on gas logs than chop & haul wood & spidery things into my house, esp when cold & rainy outside. Gas = cleaner air.
Apr 15, 2008 01:21 AM
Windy Hixson
Riverside Ca~h2o Homes Specialist




    MARA: Thank you for taking the time to comment on this post especiallywhen we don't see eye to eye on this subject. There is 1 thing we can agree on, I don't like spiders either !!!  Out here in Riverside, Ca. we still have some orange groves. I can buy seasoned orange wood that is already cut and my kids or husband takes into the house for me.  There is nothing better than smelling orange-wood burning in the fireplace on a cold dreary day while sipping a cup of tea (wine). Now for your assertion of  fireplaces causing air problems look up the particles on smoke from  a fireplace vs the big companies that are ruining the air and water. Plus you have the illegal truckers  from Mexico driving across the border with trucks not being smogged !  Are you sure you didn't live or go to school in Berkeley (Berserkley)Calif?  


Apr 15, 2008 08:35 PM
Jeff Harrison Network Realty

Stupid law makers.  They all need to be fired!!! I'm saying the same is across the board as STUPID LAWMAKERS I'm assuming the fine will be stiff as they will prey on all with a fireplace or ....IT is all sugar coated... Why not be honest and tell us what the behind closed doors lawmakers said...prob sounded like this  "Ok if we just place fines on all that burn wood then we can hit into a vast amount of money and the people will think it is their fault because they did not obey the law..... and we have more money to by steak dinners for the next lawmakers meetings parties ect.... I can say nobody ever mailed me anything to vote on this... unilateral contract for a bylateral use eh.

May 18, 2008 06:04 PM
Diana in New Hampshire

OMG so it IS true!! I was told about this by some friends here in the Granite State and I said "no way". However as a native Californian now living in New England I really should have known better.  when I moved here I didnt known much about burning wood however I soon learned how important wood heat is in this region. Trying to pass a law like this would never fly up here, this state doesnt take kindly to such gov't intrusions into our personal freedoms. And I thank god for that.

May 21, 2008 01:19 PM
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate
I think in some places it should be a good idea as it is hard to breath sometimes with all the stoves going.
May 21, 2008 01:45 PM

Another law on the books to take the rights away from Californians. Remember, we vote in these life-long politicians that is suppose to look after the people. Next, tax the middle class so support illegals and tax americans to take care of other countries? How about taking care of Americans first and if we have extra monies, we can help others.

Dec 28, 2008 05:16 AM
Windy Hixson
Riverside Ca~h2o Homes Specialist

 Hello Ed,

Thank You for taking time to comment on how crazy California is becoming. Remember

when they tried to outlaw charcoal briquettes on the BBQ's? Now that California is broke we will see

what other stupid ideas Sacramento can think of to take away more $$ from us.

Dec 29, 2008 12:16 PM

I guess I can still sell fire wood as long as you promise not to burn it.

Nov 07, 2010 01:10 PM

Omigod, I couldn't agree more!  The very idea of regulating wood smoke and fireplace burning.  When there were fewer people, burning did not have as much effect on other people breathing the air, but now that there are so many people living closer together than ever, when you burn you can REALLY make a mark on the world--and your neighbors' lungs. It is scientific fact that inhaling smoke can have serious health effects, especially for people who are older or have health problems---but better they should die than you not enjoy that fire!  Also, the air is not owned by all people who have to breathe it--the air is of course owned only by the wood burners!!  How DARE they tell you what to do in  your own fireplace!! Well, if you keep the smoke IN your own home, have at it!  But when you blow it out into other people's lungs, don't you even have any compassion for other people's right to breathe?!! Could you reallyl be that selfish??????

Dec 25, 2011 06:38 PM

We should have the right to burn wood, in a respectful mannor.  Not to get philisophical or anything, but I would trade away a sarcastic and disrespectful neighbor for a respectful one with a fireplace any day of the week. 


Jan 29, 2012 11:35 AM
joe smith

If you all lived next to my neighbors then i think that you would think twice. It has been a week of them burning fire in there fireplace 24/7. Over the weekend it was 75 outside!! I could not open any of my windows on the house since the smoke would come in. Not a very nice weekend. I thin k it ok to use your fireplace but just think of the others around you. If you dont like second hand smoke then think trice about this!!!

Feb 08, 2012 03:26 PM
hilux junky

This country was built on the backs and brains of people who could think for themselves. It is our God-given creativity and ingenuity that's gotten us this far. However, times change and so do people. Nowadays, it seems like everyone I my age (20s) would rather have someone else do everything for them. I drive a thirty five year old truck because I can work on it myself. I spent a year in TJ in a trailer with no electricity, water, plumbing, or heat. I had the time of my life washing my clothes in buckets.

When I do invest in my own house, I won't be springing for an overpriced tract home in some cookie cutter neighborhood. I care more about practicality than appearance. I reuse everything, and I like to think outside the box. I'm not satisfied with anything unless I design and build it myself. Needless to say, I may not be sticking around Cali.

This state needs a serious wakeup call. It may get one when the legistlators realize that every decent citizen is lfeeing for dear freedom. There's more to life than the beach, people! There are 49 other states, each with their own intrigue!

I'm glad I found this thread! Apparently, not all Californians have drunk the Kool Aid!

PS. Why pay for a gymn membership AND a heating bill? Get a woodburning stove and an axe!! :) 

Mar 28, 2013 05:28 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

But, no worries, I believe you still can use wood burning fireplaces if your property has it ( see specific city of L.A. local gov. regulations). In new developments of L.A. county, they build only natural gas ones.

Nov 20, 2014 05:25 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I'm not sure it is for everywhere in CA. About 1/3 of properties I sold had wood burning or both( wood and gas) fireplaces and there is no requirements I ever heard from retrofit or any inspector against wood. 

Oct 06, 2017 02:23 PM
MiTmite 9

Windy Hixon: There's a reason the American Lung Association has declared wood smoke a "Super Pollutant." Please, if nothing else, read this article by Sam Harris:

You and others who think it's okay to burn wood need a lot of education. Reading Harris' "Fireplace Delusion" is a good place to start.

Nov 09, 2017 02:35 PM