If you're feeling chilly today, be sure that you don't light up your wood-burning fireplace for comfort. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (APCD) yesterday issued the season's first Valley-wide ban on wood burning due to projected atmospheric conditions.
The ban began at midnight, Tuesday, and will continue until midnight today, Wednesday. The ban applies to residential wood burning (including pellets and manufactured fire logs), outdoor fire pits, and chimneys.
Whether the ban will continue another day will be announced at 4:30 p.m. today, when the APCD announces its daily wood-burning forecasts.
The announcement is part of the APCD's Check Before You Burn program which runs from November through February every year. The program helps to reduce wintertime particulate matter (PM) air pollution from wood-burning devices when air quality is poor. Examples of PM include ash, soot, liquid droplets, and smoke. PM has been linked to lung infections, respiratory disease, cancer, and cardiac disease, causing heart attacks and stroke.
Failure to comply with the prohibition may result in a fine.
There are two levels of forecast: “Wood Burning Prohibited” or “Please Burn Cleanly.” When a prohibition is declared, burning any solid fuel in a residential fireplace or wood-burning device is not permitted, with two exceptions:
- If the residence does not have access to natural gas service, even if propane is used, or
- If burning solid fuel is the sole source of heat for the residence.