The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s “Check Before You Burn program started on Sunday and air districts are telling Valley residents to expect a season of curtailments.
The program, aimed at improving wintertime air quality, is kicking off amid the worst wildfire season in California history. Wildfires continue to impact Valley air quality and residents should expect prohibitions on wood-burning fireplaces to start as soon as Sunday.
“It’s been a very challenging summer and fall because of wildfires all over the state, with several still burning,” said District Chief Communications Officer, Jaime Holt. “We’re asking San Joaquin Valley residents to continue the cooperation that made last winter the cleanest on record. Unlike wildfires, we have control over how we choose to heat our homes. It is critical to public health that we do not add to the unhealthy air quality created by wildfires.”
Check Before You Burn runs from Nov. 1 through the end of February every year, protecting public health through the reduction of harmful PM 2.5 (particulate matter 2.5 microns and smaller) emissions from residential wood smoke. During that time, the District releases a daily, county-by-county wood burning declaration based on the air quality forecast.
Residential wood burning is one of the Valley’s largest sources of wintertime PM 2.5 emissions and shown to have a direct effect on neighborhood air quality. Members of all Valley communities are urged to heat their homes by means other than burning wood whenever possible and continue the trend of wintertime air quality improvement experienced in recent years.
Each day the District will release a wood-burning notification. The notifications are: No Burning For All; No Burning Unless Registered; and Burning Discouraged.
Curtailments do not apply to natural gas devices. Residences in areas with no natural gas service or where wood burning is the sole source of heat are exempt. Areas where propane tanks are used are considered to be without natural gas service. Outdoor wood burning devices at all residences are still subject to daily restrictions, regardless of exemption status.
Residents with EPA Certified wood and pellet-fueled devices may register them with the Valley Air District in order to use them on “No Burning Unless Registered” days. Find out how to register by visiting: www.valleyair.org/CBYBregistration.
Valley residents are encouraged to participate in the Burn Cleaner incentive program and receive as much as $3,000 to upgrade from older, higher-polluting wood stoves and open-hearth fireplaces to EPA Certified wood, pellet or natural gas inserts and free-standing stoves. To participate in this program visit www.valleyair.org/burncleaner.
Daily burn information is available by visiting checkbeforeyouburn.org, by calling 1-800-SMOG INFO (766-4463), or by downloading the free “Valley Air” app on your mobile device.