Winter is almost here, but 'Check before you burn' season is taking place now and the Jan Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is reminding residents in the Central Valley to check before using their residential wood burning device.
“The Check Before You Burn program provides an opportunity for Valley residents to do their part to help reduce air pollution and improve public health throughout the San Joaquin Valley,” said Seyed Sadredin, the District’s executive director and air pollution control officer.
According to Air District officials, during winter the largest source of particulate pollution comes from residential wood burning.
The Check Before You Burn program started Nov. 1 and runs through the end of February each year, Air District officials said.
If you don't know how the program works, the Air District issues a daily wood-burning status by county.
Also, daily burn statuses are available by calling 1 (800) SMOG INFO (1 (800) 766-4463), by downloading the free iPhone app “Valley Air” from the App Store, or Valley residents may sign up for email notifications by visiting www.valleyair.org/CBYB.
Valley resident can check daily online daily to see which of these three possible declarations is in place for their county: No Burning curtailment: No one can burn at their residence; No Burning Unless Registered curtailment: Residents must register their emission-compliant wood-burning device with the District by visiting www.valleyair.org/CBYBregistration in order to use their device during this declaration; or No Restrictions, Burning Discouraged: If burning is absolutely necessary, residents should use manufactured logs, dry/seasoned wood, pellets or a clean-burning device.
“Wood smoke is one of the most dangerous pollutants that you can expose yourself, your children, and your neighbors to,” said Sadredin. “Prolonged exposure to wood smoke can lead to pulmonary arterial hypertension, pulmonary heart disease, heart failure and cancer.”
Air District officials said that valley residents should register their clean EPA Phase II wood or pellet burning device with the District by visiting their website www.valleyair.org/CBYBregistration in order to take advantage of additional burn days during the season.
Currently the District’s Burn Cleaner grants is providing $1,000 for certified wood, pellet inserts, freestanding stoves or natural gas inserts or $2,500 for eligible low-income applicants for all devices for Valley residents who would like to switch out older wood-burning devices for a cleaner model.
An additional $500 is available to all applicants for the installation costs on a natural gas device. If you would like too participate in the program or want more information visit www.valleyair.org/burncleaner.
According to Air District officials, there are two exceptions to wood-burning prohibitions: 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), they are exempt from the rule and may continue to use their device.
Residents may get exemption information at www.valleyair.org/Rule4901.
Also, fireplace inserts or stoves that run solely on gas or propane, and never burn wood, continue to be exempt from the rule. And wood-burning declarations also apply to outdoor devices and chimneys.