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UPDATE: Residential No-Burn Alert Extended to Saturday

SCAQMD Check Before You Burn Map for 1/4/2014
SCAQMD Check Before You Burn Map for 1/4/2014
A no-burn alert that includes residents who live below 3,000 feet elevation in the San Gorgonio Pass has been extended to Saturday due to pollution forecasts, South Coast Air Quality Management District officials said Friday.

The ban on burning wood in residential fireplaces on Jan. 4 brings the total of no-burn alerts issued by the district since Nov. 1 to five.

District officials are issuing more residential no-burn alerts this season because they amended their residential wood burning and open burning programs in May 2013 to lower the pollution threshold level that triggers mandatory no-burn days, district spokeswoman Tina Cox said Thursday.

"It was anticipated that lowering the threshold would trigger more no-burn days," Cox said. "The Check Before You Burn season ends on February 28."

The district's no-burn alerts do not apply to mountain communities above 3,000 feet in elevation, the Coachella Valley or the High Desert, SCAQMD officials said.

"Homes that rely on wood as a sole source of heat, low-income households and those without natural gas service also are exempt from the requirement," district officials said. 

A list of exemptions to the South Coast Air Quality Management District restrictions of burning wood in residential fireplaces includes:

- Households above an elevation of 3,000 feet.

- Wood-burning devices that are a household's sole source of heat

- Low-income households

- Properties where there is no existing infrastructure for natural gas service within 150 feet of the property line

- Ceremonial fires exempted under Rule 444 - Open Burning

Here's the district's statement issued Friday Jan. 3:

Residents living in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, Orange County and the Inland Empire are not permitted to burn wood in their fireplaces today (Friday, January 03, 2014) or tomorrow (Saturday, January 04, 2014) due to elevated fine particulate levels predicted by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).

Residents in these areas are prohibited from burning wood or manufactured fire logs in their fireplaces from midnight Friday morning to midnight on Saturday night.

SCAQMD's no-burn alerts do not apply to mountain communities above 3,000 feet in elevation, the Coachella Valley and the High Desert. Homes that rely on wood as a sole source of heat, low-income households and those without natural gas service also are exempt from the requirement.

On a no-burn day, residents can enter their ZIP code at www.aqmd.gov to see if they live in an affected area. They can also sign up for daily reports on air quality and Check Before You Burn alerts at www.airalerts.org or call SCAQMD’s 24-hour Check Before You Burn toll-free line at (866) 966-3293.

SCAQMD’s Check Before You Burn program, in effect each winter from Nov. 1 to the end of February, is designed to protect public health by minimizing harmful wood smoke from residential wood burning. No-burn alerts are called when air quality is forecast to be elevated due to fine particulate levels (PM2.5).  Wood smoke contains hundreds of contaminants including PM2.5, a pollutant linked to increased emergency room visits and hospitalizations, as well as increased risk of heart attacks and early deaths.

SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for major portions of L.A., San Bernardino and Riverside counties and all of Orange county. For more info on Check Before You Burn and alternatives to wood burning, see www.healthyhearths.org.

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