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AQMD To Issue Mandatory "No Burn" Alerts

Violators of the bans on the burning of firewood during smoggy "No Burn" periods could face fines up to $500.

From the South Coast Air Quality Management District:

During late fall and winter, fine particulate (PM2.5)levels can rise to unhealthy concentrations during stagnant atmospheric conditions. Starting today, under the South Coast AQMD’s “Check Before you Burn” program, mandatory no-burn alerts will be issued on days and in specific areas where PM2.5 levels are forecast to reach unhealthy levels.  

“While fireplaces are cozy, wood smoke from these fires is a serious public health threat,” said Barry R. Wallerstein, AQMD’s Executive Officer. “Residents can play an important role in helping to clean the air and protect their family’s health by checking before they burn.”  

During a no-burn alert, residents in affected areas are not allowed to burn wood or manufactured fireplace logs in their fireplaces or outdoor fire pits.  During a typical Southland winter, 15 to 20 no-burn alerts are expected to be issued from Nov. 1 through the end of February.   

To learn if a mandatory no-burn alert has been issued for a particular area of the Southland, residents can:

  • Sign up at www.AirAlerts.org to receive electronic e-mail notices when a no-burn alert is issued for their area;
  • Enter their ZIP code at www.aqmd.gov to see if a no-burn alert has been issued for their area; or
  • Call AQMD’s 24-hour Check Before You Burn toll-free line at (866) 966-3293.  

This winter, AQMD will partner with local TV station ABC 7 to help deliver air quality messages during news weathercasts. Now in its third year, Check Before You Burn is part of AQMD’s Healthy Hearths initiative and Rule 445 to protect public health by reducing harmful fine particulate pollution during winter months. The program was voluntary during 2010 but became mandatory last year.  

Alerts are issued when PM2.5 levels are forecast to exceed the federal health standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter averaged over a 24-hour period. Alerts are issued one day in advance and last for 24 hours. For example, an alert issued on a Monday is in place from Monday at midnight (just after 11:59 p.m. Monday) until Tuesday at midnight.  

Residents who burn wood in their fireplaces when a no-burn alert has been issued could be fined $50 as a first-time violator. They would also have the option of completing a wood smoke awareness course in lieu of the fine. For a second violation, the fine increases to $150 or instead of the fine a resident may install a permanent gas-fueled fireplace. Third time violators will receive a $500 fine or instead may fund a project that will benefit the environment. 

Multiple violations are accrued only if they occur during a single wood-burning season, November through February.  

To report a suspected violation, residents may call 1-800-CUT-SMOG (1-800-288-7664) or use the online complaint feature at www.aqmd.gov.   Properties located 3,000 feet above sea level, low-income households or those without natural gas access are exempt from curtailment requirements. Campfires, beach bonfires and ceremonial burning are also exempt from mandatory curtailment.  

To encourage residents to convert their existing wood-burning fireplaces to clean-burning gas logs, AQMD’s popular Gas Log Incentive Program offers residents a discount of up to $200 to convert their existing wood-burning fireplace to a clean-burning gas log set. Residents using clean-burning gas logs are not subject to the curtailment program.  

Fireplaces and other wood-burning devices are actively used in an estimated 1.2 million households in the Southland. They emit more than five tons of harmful PM2.5 emissions per day in the South Coast Air Basin -- more than four times the amount of PM2.5 emitted from all of the power plants in the Southland.  

From November through February, when wood burning is at its peak, it is estimated to cause more than 10 tons per day of PM2.5 emissions. PM2.5 is a serious public health threat associated with a wide range of adverse health effects. The California Air Resources Board has estimated that PM2.5 pollution from all sources in the Southland could result in about 5,000 premature deaths per year.

Southern California has some of the worst PM2.5 air quality in the nation. Since wood smoke is such a serious public health threat, most areas of Central and Northern California – in addition to many other areas and cities across the nation – have had mandatory wood-burning restrictions in place for several years.   

For more information on the Check Before You Burn program, the Healthy Hearths initiative, health impacts from wood smoke and the Gas Log Incentive Program, visit www.healthyhearths.org.

Marvion November 06, 2012 at 07:33 AM
freep or freeper is 1960's slang of 'free press' coin vend news racks promo's. gogo green idiots are conspirator terroristherorist. So, perhaps some freenergyroscopicontrolls. Ya, kinda ah hard read.. 1st one to patent office wins, boo ya. O’ freenergyroboticontrolls. Hmm, freenergyrorbitalogicontroll. Lolz , this so not working. Freenergyrotation freenergyroscopic no? freenergyro gigigigy nope! Metered freenergyes? Lol, auto response disabled, sci -fi. moon walks
not Carl Peterson lll November 06, 2012 at 07:36 AM
Ellen I am not sure if your responding to me. my iPhone does not indicate what response was to who's. Look, I am with you 100% about others polution, and your lungs. I believe I made my points about the global warming hoax. So if I may let me respond to the "knee-jerk reaction. As we know, without almost any thought the positions on global warming issues follows party line. Right? I could tell you why if you are interested. I have had to do extensive research to conclude my beliefs. Most of the global warming screamers have done zero independent study. All this as I am called evil, ditto head freeper, right wing asshole....yet my points stand unchallenged. And hey think about it. Why do people faced with new information about this go out of their way to find personal fault rather than the possibility that the world you live in is not close to armageddon. Don't knee-jerk, learn what's behind the headlines.
not Carl Peterson lll November 06, 2012 at 07:43 AM
Hey Marvin, thanks for the clariv. Clar's. Carlifin....?!@ ##%<# fication.
joebanana November 06, 2012 at 11:14 PM
If our governments so worried about "green" products, why the ban on hemp, and/or cannabis? 2,500 or more different "green" products can be produced by this single plant. From paint, to, building materials, fuel, oil, long storage food products, plastic, clothes, paper, medicine, varnish, glue, shopping bags, canvas, rope, cancer cell killing properties are unmatched by anything big pharm can produce, not to mention all the other conditions that it has been PROVEN to treat, from glaucoma, to epilepsy, to multiple sclerosis, stress, menstrual cramps, and more. This isn't about "green", it's about control.
not Carl Peterson lll November 17, 2012 at 07:25 AM
joebanana, are you saying that the government suppresses hemp, or cannabis because of established big biz? I have been hearing people say this forever, but never gave it much thought. Do you have any favorite links? If it can do half of what you say, new large companies would replace the position of the others, and then they would be contributing the the political campaigns, thus a net gain for the politicians, as well as society. No?

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