The 12th season of the Valley's Check Before You Burn program began Nov. 1.
This season, Check Before You Burn, the residential wood-burning curtailment rule, incorporates a new declaration level that will allow residents with registered, clean-burning heating devices to use them more frequently than in previous years.
The air district also is offering significantly more money to change out older units with newer devices that meet current EPA emission standards.
"The cooperation and understanding of the Valley's residents has made this the single most cost-effective regulation the air district has adopted," said Seyed Sadredin, the District's executive director and air pollution control officer. "Because of this support, our winter air quality is much cleaner and much healthier."
During Check Before You Burn season, which runs through February, the Air District issues a daily wood-burning status by county. Declarations will now be either "No Restrictions, Burning Discouraged," "No Burning Unless Registered" or "No Burning."
In order to be allowed to burn during days when the status is "No Burning Unless Registered," residents must register their emission-compliant wood-burning devices with the District. During the inaugural season of this program, there is no fee to register. When burning is prohibited outright, no wood-burning device may be used. Residents can visit www.valleyair.org/CBYBregistration to register their device.
There are two exceptions to wood-burning prohibitions, however: If the residence does not have another source of heat or if the residence does not have access to natural-gas service (even if propane is used). Fireplace, stoves and inserts that run solely on gas or propane continue to be exempt from the rule.
To provide financial assistance to residents who wish to change out their older wood-burning devices for cleaner models, the District's Burn Cleaner fireplace and wood stove change-out program now offers $1,500 to eligible applicants and $2,500 to applicants who qualify for the low-income component. Another $500 is available to all applicants for installation costs on a gas device.
To get the daily burn status, sign up for email notifications and get information about the Burn Cleaner program, visit www.valleyair.org/Rule4901.Daily wood-burning declarations are also available by calling 1-800 SMOG INFO (766-4463) or by downloading the free iPhone app "Valley Air" from the App Store.