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Ashland has its own agency for wood stove compliance

Each night, TV weather people tell us there's an air stagnation advisory in effect, and those with wood stoves are not supposed to burn them. Is there any enforcement of these advisories? I live above the university in Ashland, and several people nearby burn their stoves regardless of conditions, and their smoke hangs over the entire neighborhood.

— J.W. in Ashland

There is enforcement of these advisories, J.W., but they are handled by different agencies, depending on where you live. 

Let's do some really quick background, though. On "yellow" or "red" days — days where conditions are approaching unhealthy levels or have reached unhealthy levels, respectively — you can still burn, but you can only do it in a certified wood stove. You also have to burn clean, dry wood so the smoke is not visible. Sounds like that's not the case where you live.

If you live in an unincorporated area of Jackson County, the county enforces it. But individual cities within the county have also adopted the same air pollution ordinance. Municipalities such as Medford and Central Point handle code compliance as it relates to wood stoves.

So does Ashland. Code enforcement is handled through the city's community development department, however, not police. And the requirements for burning are a bit more stringent.

"We have an opacity requirement," said Adam Hanks, assistant to the city administrator. "So regardless of whether it's a green, yellow or red day, (residents) have to burn clean, seasoned wood and have smoke clear."

Specifically, Ashland's ordinance calls for 40 percent smoke opacity or below. There are exemptions to this, however, if a wood stove is someone's sole source of heating.

If you have questions, or want to file a complaint, you can visit this website: https://www.ashland.or.us/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=431. You can also email CodeCompliance@ashland.or.us.

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