The 13th winter of the residential wood-burning program ended with record improvement in air quality.
Check Before You Burn, the program that minimizes the build-up of harmful fine particle pollution, runs each winter from November through February. Each day during this period, a wood-burning declaration is issued for every county in the air basin that determines what, if any, residential wood-burning devices may be used. Last winter, the regulation was amended to allow users of EPA Phase II-certified clean wood-burning devices to register them with the District and use them more frequently than they were allowed in past winters.
“We are moving in the right direction thanks to the cooperation of Valley residents and their investments in cleaner devices,” said Seyed Sadredin, the District’s executive director and air pollution control officer. “Together with the increased funding for the Burn Cleaner program, which grants money for the purchase of cleaner devices, Check Before You Burn has had a very positive effect on winter air quality in the Valley.”
While registered devices could be used more often, the Valley saw significant improvements this winter and the “No Burning For All” curtailment that prohibits both registered and non-registered devices from burning when PM 2.5 levels become critically unhealthy, was not needed. Comparatively, last winter, there were a total of 36 “No Burning For All” curtailments throughout the air basin. Additionally, there were far fewer days during which the fine-particle level exceeded the federal health standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter.
Valley residents wanting to switch out older wood-burning devices for a cleaner model can still take advantage of the District’s Burn Cleaner grants which provide $1,000 for certified wood, pellet inserts, freestanding stoves or natural gas inserts or $2,500 for eligible low-income applicants for all devices. An additional $500 is available to all applicants for the installation costs on a natural gas device. Visit www.valleyair.org/burncleaner for program guidelines.
Additionally, March through October, is a great time to get clean burning devices registered ahead of next year’s wood burning season. Visit www.valleyair.org/CBYBregistration for details.
As of March 1, the District will no longer issue a daily residential wood burning status for each county. While no formal burning restrictions will be in place until Nov.1, 2016, the District discourages residential wood burning.