The month of November marks the beginning of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s Residential Wood Smoke Reduction program, reminding Valley residents that their cooperation is essential in protecting public health and improving wintertime air quality. Residential wood burning can be one of the Valley’s largest sources of wintertime PM 2.5 emissions and is shown to have a direct effect on neighborhood air quality. Valley residents are urged to heat their homes by means other than burning wood whenever possible.
“We’re asking San Joaquin Valley residents to continue the cooperation that has had a direct, positive impact on public health,” said District Chief Communications Officer Jaime Holt. “Choosing not to use your wood burning fireplace this winter, when possible, is critical in our pollution reduction efforts and key to public health.”
The Residential Wood Smoke Reduction program 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 daily, county-by-county wood burning declarations based on the air quality forecast. Daily burn information is available by visiting www.valleyair.org/burnstatus, by calling 1-800-SMOG INFO (766-4463), or by downloading the free “Valley Air” app on your mobile device. In addition, residents are invited to sign up for daily wood-burning email notifications. There are three curtailment levels: No Burning For All; No Burning Unless Registered; 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.
Valley residents are encouraged to participate in the Fireplace & Woodstove Change-Out program and receive as much as $5,000 to upgrade from older, higher-polluting wood stoves and open-hearth fireplaces to natural gas inserts or electric heat pumps. To participate in this program, visit www.valleyair.org/change-out.
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.