It's almost that time of year, where even in Southern California, the weather gets a little chilly, encouraging us to break out the fuzzy blankets, throw on some firewood, and roast chestnuts on an open fire. But one thing we need to do before lighting that cozy flame is check the air quality.
November 1, 2018 launches the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD) 7th annual Check Before You Burn Program.
The seasonal air pollution prevention program extends from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28, 2019. During this four-month period, residents living in the South Coast Air Basin, including all of Orange County and the non-desert areas of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, are asked to help improve Southern California’s air quality by not burning firewood on No-Burn Days.
A No-Burn Day is a 24-hour ban on wood-burning in a fireplace, stove or outdoor fire pit across the South Coast Air Basin. When a No-Burn Day is in effect, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the air is forecast to reach unhealthy levels due to air pollution and stagnant weather conditions.
Wood-burning can emit more than five tons of harmful PM2.5 emissions per day in the South Coast Air Basin. This is more than three times the amount of PM2.5 emitted from all of the power plants in SoCal.
Short-term exposure to unhealthy levels of particulate matter can cause throat and eye irritation, aggravate asthma and trigger other respiratory conditions. Exposure over an extended period of time can increase the risk of strokes, heart attack or cancer.
To improve our air quality and strive for healthier communities, SCAQMD asks residents to take the pledge to Check Before You Burn by signing up for Air Alerts to receive an email notification in advance of every No-Burn Day. Residents can also call (866) 966-3293 for daily Check Before You Burn information.