The launch of the 7th annual Check Before You Burn program for the South Coast Air Quality Management District comes on the heels of a hot and smoggy summer and a record-high 33 No-Burn Days last winter.
“From year to year, weather conditions play a major role in our air quality,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s executive officer. “While we can’t control the weather, residents can play an important role in improving air quality year-round, and especially during fall and winter by checking before they burn.”
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 the Southland.
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 at www.AirAlerts.org 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.
About Check Before You Burn
Check Before You Burn is South Coast Air Quality Management District’s late fall and early winter program that became mandatory on Nov. 1, 2011, under the provisions of SCAQMD’s Rule 445 – Wood-Burning Devices. The campaign seeks to educate residents of the South Coast Air Basin about the hazards of wood smoke and prohibits burning of firewood in a fireplace, stove or outdoor fire pit on No-Burn Days, when unhealthy air quality is forecast. While air quality has improved dramatically in recent decades, Southern California still has some of the worst air pollution in the nation.
The SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.