State

Wood-burning limits go into effect Monday in Modesto area

With the chill in the air, a wood fire may sound inviting, but air quality officials remind Modesto-area residents to check for woodburning restrictions or prohibitions before lighting those fireplace logs.

The eighth season of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s Check Before You Burn program will begin Monday and run through Feb. 28.

Residential wood burning will be restricted or prohibited on days when fine-particle pollution is forecast to be high, according to an air district news release.

“This rule has been critical in helping the valley reduce the presence of particulate pollution during the winters,” said Seyed Sadredin, the air district’s executive director and air pollution control officer.

In fact, the 2009-10 winter was the cleanest on record for the air basin, and officials credit Check Before You Burn.

High levels of particulate pollution can have serious health effects, including bronchitis, lung disease and increased risk of stroke and heart attacks. Children, the elderly and people with respiratory and coronary disease are especially vulnerable, the news release continued.

It is the responsibility of residents or businesses to check for any restrictions before using indoor or outdoor fireplaces, wood stoves and fire pits that burn wood, pellets, manufactured logs or other solid fuel.

Those who receive daily air quality forecasts will get the daily burn status in the same e-mail.

To receive the daily forecast and burn status in an e-mail alert, go to www.valleyair.org/lists/list.htm. The daily burn status is also available by calling 557-6472 or 800-766-4463.

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