Valley Air District issued its first fireplace-use ban for Merced and Madera counties.
Wood-burning is also prohibited in Stanislaus, Fresno, Tulare and Valley portion of Kern counties.
The season’s first fireplace and wood stove prohibition was set for today, Nov. 11, because of deteriorating air quality. The day-long mandatory curtailment was in effect from midnight Tuesday through midnight Wednesday, Valley Air District said.
There are also wood-burning prohibitions in Stanislaus, Fresno, Tulare and the Valley portion of Kern counties for the same time period.
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The curtailments apply to burning wood, pellets and manufactured fire logs. The wood-burning curtailment program, Check Before You Burn, runs each year from Nov. 1 through the last day of February and aims to reduce wintertime particulate pollution by restricting the use of wood-burning devices when air quality is forecast to deteriorate. Forecasts are issued on a county-by-county basis.
Residential wood burning pumps dangerous particulate matter (PM) into Valley skies, the organization said in a news release. PM has been shown to cause bronchial infections, exacerbate respiratory and cardiac illness.
Valley Air District said there are two levels of wood-burning forecast: “Wood burning Prohibited” or “Please Burn Cleanly,” depending on expected air quality.
When a prohibition is declared, burning any solid fuel in a residential fireplace or wood-burning device isn’t permitted. There are two exceptions:
- If the residence does not have access to natural-gas service, even if propane is available;
- If burning solid fuel is the sole source of heat for the residence.
Prohibition violations may be subject to fines.
Daily wood-burning forecasts are available each day at 4:30 p.m. at http://www.valleyair.org/aqinfo/WoodBurnPage.htm, by calling 1-800 SMOG INFO (766-4463), or by subscribing to the Air District’s daily air quality forecast at http://www.valleyair.org/lists/list.htm. For more information about Check Before You Burn, call a District office in Fresno (559) 230-6000), Modesto (209) 557-6400) or Bakersfield (661) 392-5500).