Yes, that is true, But, it is nowhere near as random as people want to make it out to be. There is a measure air particulate value that has been established, and it is based on people with impaired breathing (largely asthmatics). Once the barrier has been reached, areas that have show particular tendencies to trap the smoke are banned from the use of the wood burning fireplaces. While it sounds bad, it makes a lot of sense. A lot of these areas are in bowls and valleys, that trap the bad air in weather inversions, the air will become sour and so badly polluted that it affects breathing. We also have so many cars and commuters, who must drive, the limitations on wood stove use ended up being the easiest way to control the issue.
In my lifetime, I have to say that areas that once represented the worst pollution, and I mean, red air, you could see the red air as you looked down the block, no longer have the problem. I hear many folks who are under 40, and who have no personal reference complain about Spare the Air days, but, if you grew up in the Los Angeles of the 1960's and early 1970's, or the Sacramento and San Jose areas, or the areas around the interior valleys, you know how much better the air is now. And so a few people who thought they could save money by burning their garbage can't now, too bad. BTW, a lot of the people that whine about the burning bans, were not burning wood, they were burning garbage and free fuel as they called it.
Many of these places do still allow pellet stoves, as long as they are purely pellet burning, but, that is not what people largely want to use.
The SS Platypus, sails again, to the support of the Vets!
"perhaps...but then again...maybe not..."