Put that wood down

Today is Residential No-Burn Day.

This noteworthy event impacts much of Southern California.

Residential No-Burn Day means residents in the non-desert portions of Los Angeles and residents in Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties cannot burn wood in their fireplaces or any indoor or outdoor wood-burning device. This ban applies to wood and manufactured logs.

I did not become aware of this ban until I signed up to receive emails from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) earlier this year. I do not remember what prompted me to do this, but I am glad I did. It turns out the SCAQMD manages a “Check Before You Burn” program from November through February when particulate levels are the highest. According to today’s alert, there have been ten no-burn days so far during the 2018-2019 season. Ten! Wasn’t November only last month?

According to the alert:

No-burn alerts are mandatory to protect public health when levels of fine particulate air pollution in the region are forecast to be high. Smoke from wood burning can cause health problems. Particles in wood smoke — also known as fine particulate matter or PM2.5 — can get deep into the lungs and cause respiratory problems (including asthma attacks), increases in emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

While I think it is unfortunate there is a need to protect residents from the effects of burning wood in their fireplaces and fire pits, these alerts provide a teachable moment.

Do you have no-burn days where you live and teach?

Southern California residents can learn more about this program at AirAlerts.org.

Tania Marien