The Winter High Pollution Advisory Program is coordinated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Air Pollution Control Division.
Winter Season air pollution forecasts are issued daily at 4 p.m. from Oct. 31 to March 31. When conditions warrant, forecasts will include information about Action Days and subsequent burning restrictions.
An Action Day indicates that air quality is unhealthy or the condition of air quality is poor and trigger mandatory residential burning restrictions. These burning restrictions generally apply to everyone in the entire seven-county Denver-Boulder metropolitan area below 7,000 feet. The restrictions are enforced through local ordinances or a state regulation.
Under state regulation, the only exceptions to the residential burning restrictions are for residences about 7,000 feet in the seven-county metro area; and those who use Colorado Phase III (Phase II EPA) certified wood-burning stoves, Colorado-approved pellet stoves, approved masonry heaters or those whose stoves or fireplaces are their primary source of heat.
When no advisories are issued, air quality is good or moderate and is expected to remain so during the effective period of the forecast. No restrictions are in place.
The city of Aurora enforces the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state requirements for wood-burning appliances in homes. Neighbor complaints about potential wood-burning violations during restricted days are logged, investigated and reported to the state yearly.
Trained Neighborhood Services code enforcement personnel promptly investigate complaints. Homeowners suspected of improper burning on “red” (a.k.a. high pollution) days are contacted, provided with educational materials and sometimes issued violations requiring them to stop the fires in their fireplaces within three hours. Aurora’s experience is that this educational contact results in excellent compliance.
For more information on residential burning restrictions, visit the Air Pollution Control Division's website or call 303.692.3281.