Local residents thinking of a fireplace fire on New Year’s Eve are prohibited from doing so by the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District on Monday issued a “no burn alert” for the region, which includes Temecula, for Tuesday, Dec. 31 due to predicted elevated fine particulate levels.
“Residents in these areas are prohibited from burning wood or manufactured fire logs in their fireplaces from midnight tonight to midnight on Tuesday,” SCAQMD stated in a news release.
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,” the agency states.
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 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.
For further information on Check Before You Burn and alternatives to wood burning, see www.healthyhearths.org.