On Jan. 30th I was cleaning out my fireplace; we had burned a lot of wood on a prior burn day. While shoveling out the ash, there were hot coals under the ash. It started to smoke and smoked for about 15 minutes. On Jan. 31, I received a letter from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District charging me with a violation of HS code 42402, which carries a $1,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail. I was advised to pay $100 or take a class and the fine would be reduced to $50.
This agency is important for our Valley air. However, common sense should prevail. If you see a violation, stop, make contact and verify the fire. Identify the alleged violator and advise them it’s no-burn day. Lots of people do not have the ability to check for burn days.
I emailed the district supervisor, explaining my situation. No response. They have violated my 4th Amendment rights. They saw smoke from smoldering coals but did not see fire. If they had investigated further, they would have seen no fire. This agency lacks leadership, professionalism, ethical conduct and is incompetent.
Carlos Lopez, Merced