Big changes coming to 'Check Before You Burn' program

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Big changes coming to 'Check Before You Burn' program

Postby Wilberforce » Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:21 pm

Big changes coming to 'Check Before You Burn' program
New guidelines posted for residential burning in SJ Valley
UPDATED 9:56 PM PDT Oct 30, 2014

"Check Before You Burn" is a residential wood-burning restriction program designed to reduce particulate matter when the air quality is expected to deteriorate.

"We have a lot of changes going on with residential wood-burning this year," Air District spokesman Anthony Presto said.

On Wednesday, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District announced new guidelines for residential burning.

This year, the program will incorporate a new declaration level to allow residents to use their registered clean-burning devices more frequently than in previous years.

"Even though we're allowing for more burning for residents who register their clean-burning units, we're going to see a substantial decrease in particulate matter," Presto said. "We're expecting to see a five-ton reduction in pollution on an average basis in the Valley."

During the "Check Before You Burn" season, which runs Nov. 1 through February, the Air District issues a daily wood-burning status by county.

The declarations will be "no restrictions, burning discouraged," "no burning unless registered" or "no burning."

Presto said in order to be allowed to burn during days when the status is "no burning unless registered," residents must register their emission-compliant wood-burning devices with the district by visiting this website.

The district also announced it will offer more money to change out older heating units with newer devices that meet current Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Steve Goldstein, owner of Spa Doctor in Modesto, helped draft the proposal for the incentive program.

Ever since it took effect Sept. 18, he said, customers have submitted hundreds of applications to his shop on Sisk Avenue.

"It's the busiest we've been since Y2K," he said. "I don't remember ever being this busy. We're pretty much working seven days a week, around the clock just to help people with their applications and to get their units installed."

That's because this year, the Air District is offering financial assistance to residents who wish to change out their older wood-burning devices for cleaner models.

The "Burn Cleaner" fireplace and wood stove change-out program is offering $1,500 to eligible applicants and $2,500 to low-income residents.

Another $500 is available to all applicants who need gas installed for their new devices.

"They're not only large in comparison to previous years, they're the largest in the United States," Goldstein said. "There's never been anything done like this, so it's a pretty big deal. And, other air districts are looking at what we're doing because the San Joaquin Valley has some of the dirtiest air in the country."

One couple told KCRA 3 on Thursday that they learned about the program through a TV ad.

"The reason I thought about it is because of the no-burn days," Myron Zuber said. "Burn days are based on particulate matter, and if we can lessen it, it will be better for our air quality."

He and his wife, Janice, said they wanted to take advantage of the program to make the switch from an older wood-burning unit to a newer, cleaner-burning device after growing frustrated with how little they could burn last year in order to heat their home.

"We always had to check and it was always so cold, and we couldn't burn," Janice Zuber said.

Now, they’re looking forward to using a natural-gas stove and saving hundreds of dollars in replacing their old device.

"Just as an example, I have a wood-burning insert that's $1,595 and there's an incentive that's $1,500 -- so literally, the customer can purchase that unit for $95," Goldstein said.

Goldstein is looking forward to the boost in business, but added that if customers want to take advantage of the program, the time is now.

"The Air District allocated $2.1 million toward this program, and it’s already halfway gone," he said. "And this year, those that have an EPA-certified wood or pellet stove will be able to burn about 95 percent of the time -- and those that don't will be restricted about 95 percent of the time."

source ... m/29447380

DAQ Urges Use of Utah Air App as Burning Rules Go Into Effect: Seasonal wood burning restrictions begin November 1

For Immediate Release
October 30, 2014

DAQ Urges Use of Utah Air App as Burning Rules Go Into Effect

Seasonal wood burning restrictions begin November 1

Salt Lake City, Utah – With the air turning cold, the Division of Air Quality (DAQ) reminds Utahns that wood burning restrictions go into effect November 1, 2014, and urges the use of online and mobile tools for better monitoring of daily air particulates.

Wood burning restrictions aim to help reduce hard-to-see particle pollution that builds up during winter inversion periods. Restrictions are implemented as a proactive measure when fine particle matter (PM 2.5) has the potential to reach unhealthy levels from emission sources such as vehicles, as well as wood and coal burning fireplaces or stoves.

The DAQ air quality alert system, developed with input from the public, aims to better communicate the complex health implications and activity restrictions related to air pollution. A phone app, Utah Air, that employs DAQ’s air quality alert system is now available for both Android and iOS users at App users will receive burn-ban alerts and three-day forecasts to help plan the best times to exercise outdoors, or when to make consolidated trip for errands based on current conditions.

“The Utah Air app is our most popular tool because Utahns can quickly click on the information they need at anytime and anywhere,” said Bryce Bird, director of DAQ. “This is important information people can access in order to make daily decisions that will improve air quality during the upcoming winter inversion season.”

The DAQ’s alert system consists of two parts:

Part 1—Action Alerts: Three basic symbols to indicate unrestricted, voluntary and mandatory actions.

· Unrestricted Action (symbol = circle): Wood and coal burning stoves or fireplaces may be used, but please use them in a proper manner to reduce smoke emissions.
· Voluntary Action (symbol = inverted triangle): Voluntarily do not use wood and coal burning stoves or fireplaces. Reduce vehicle use by consolidating trips. Industry should optimize operating conditions to minimize air pollution emissions.

· Mandatory Action (symbol = X): Wood and coal burning stoves or fireplaces must not be used. Reduce vehicle use by consolidating trips. Industry should optimize operating conditions to minimize air pollution emissions.

When mandatory restrictions are in place the use of solid fuel appliances may result in penalties ranging up to $299 per day. If violations of the burning restrictions are observed by the public, they should be reported to DAQ by calling 801-536-4000 during business hours or by filling out a simple form online at:

Part 2—Health Guidance: The EPA’s national standard Air Quality Index (AQI), which is divided into six, color-coded categories that correspond to different levels of pollution and related guidance for individuals with health concerns.

The DAQ monitors air pollution hourly and provides a three-day “action forecast” on its website ( to help residents plan ahead and adjust their activities during periods of winter inversion. In addition, for current conditions and updates, residents, businesses and visitors can call 801-536-0072 or 1-800-228-5434, and subscribe to the Choose Clean Air email alerts (

Donna Kemp Spangler
Communications Director
801.536.4484 (office)
801.554-4944 (cell)

About DEQ
Established in 1991, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) mission is to safeguard public health and quality of life by protecting and enhancing the environment. DEQ implements state and federal environmental laws and works with individuals, community groups and businesses to protect the quality of Utah’s air, land and water. For more information, visit, follow DEQ on Facebook (utahdeq) and Twitter (UtahDEQ), or call 1-800-458-0145.

source ... ovember-1/

Stage 1 burn ban called for Yakima County

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Posted on October 31, 2014

YAKIMA, Wash. — Authorities on Thursday called a Stage 1 Burn Ban to address unhealthy air quality building in Yakima County.

The Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency declared the ban because wood smoke and other air pollutants tend to settle in the Yakima Valley under stagnant weather conditions, like the region is currently experiencing.

Thursday morning, the state pollution monitors in Yakima and Toppenish recorded levels of pollution that are unhealthy for sensitive people, such as those with asthma, heart and lung conditions, young children and the elderly.

It’s the first burn ban of the fall, so here’s a reminder: Under a Stage 1 ban, the use of certified wood stoves is allowed, but fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves are prohibited, unless they are the only means of heating a home. All outdoor burning is also prohibited.

If conditions worsen, the Clean Air Agency may call a Stage 2 ban, which could mean that even the use of certified stoves is prohibited, unless there is no other way to heat the home.

source ... ima-county

Annual “Check Before You Burn” Program in Effect Nov. 1 to Feb 28 to Protect Southland Residents’ Health During the Winter Months

Program prohibits residential wood burning on days when high air pollution is forecast in the region

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) announced the launch of its annual “Check Before You Burn” program, designed to protect public health by reducing harmful wood smoke from residential wood burning from Nov. 1 through the end of February. Under the program, mandatory no-burn alerts will be issued when fine particle air pollution is expected to reach unhealthy levels. During a no-burn alert, residents in affected areas are not allowed to burn wood in their fireplaces.

“Southern California has been a longtime leader in reducing emissions, however current levels of air pollution still cause premature deaths and chronic heart and lung conditions,” said Barry R. Wallerstein, SCAQMD’s executive officer. “The good news is that residents can play an important role in helping reduce the harmful health effects of wood smoke by checking for no-burn alerts in their area before they burn wood in their fireplaces.”

Fine particles in wood smoke – also known as particulate matter or PM2.5 – can get deep into the lungs and cause respiratory illnesses, increases in emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Wood smoke is known to contain many of the same carcinogens as second-hand cigarette smoke.

No-burn alerts are issued one day in advance and last for 24 hours. Depending on where unhealthy PM2.5 levels are forecast, a no-burn alert may affect the entire South Coast Air Basin or specific areas of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. To learn if a mandatory no-burn alert has been issued, residents can:

Sign-up to receive e-mail alerts via
Visit for daily forecasts and for an interactive no-burn alert map
Call SCAQMD’s 24-hour Check Before You Burn toll-free line at (866) 966-3293

Residents can also protect themselves and their families from the harmful health effects of wood smoke by upgrading to a cleaner-burning alternative. Natural-gas log sets, natural-gas fireplace inserts and EPA-certified wood stoves burn cleaner, emitting less particle pollution. Residents can visit to check if they may be eligible for a discount on a gas-log set or other cleaner-burning appliance.

SCAQMD’s no-burn alerts do not apply to mountain communities above 3,000 feet in elevation, the Coachella Valley and the High Desert. Homes that rely on wood as a sole source of heat, low-income households and those without natural gas service also are exempt from the requirement.

Now in its fifth year, the “Check Before You Burn” program is part of SCAQMD’s Healthy Hearths initiative and Rule 445 aiming to protect public health through reduced fine particle pollution during the winter. For further information on the program and alternatives to wood burning, see

SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

source ... eason-2014

Strictest wood-burning rules in nation begin Saturday
Valley residents who upgrade their fireplaces to efficient stoves will be able to burn on all but the worst of the worst days, Valley Air District officials said. The strictest air pollution rules in the nation take effect on Saturday. Here, John Wittlinger of J&D Spas and Stoves, prepares to install an insert into a fireplace operated by gas. CALIXTRO ROMIAS/RECORD FILE 2012

By Alex Breitler
Record Staff Writer
Posted Oct. 30, 2014 @ 8:00 pm

For 25 years, Valley air pollution cops have squeezed businesses, farms and industry in an effort to slash emissions and meet ever-tightening air quality standards.

And now, “We have to get the public to do its part,” said Seyed Sadredin, director of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

On Saturday, Valley residents from Lodi to Bakersfield will become subject to what Sadredin’s district calls the strictest residential wood-burning rules in the nation.

In San Joaquin County, where the air tends to be the cleanest, no-burn days over the past decade have been relatively rare.

That no longer will be the case. In September, officials decided to lower the threshold for declaring a no-burn day. San Joaquin County residents now can expect, on average, 53 burn bans each year from November through February — more than double the historic average.

But here comes the carrot: Residents who are willing to throw some cash into their fireplaces — so to speak — might be able to burn all winter.

While tightening the rules, the air district also is significantly increasing incentives for those willing to upgrade to a newer and cleaner wood, pellet or gas stove. For many buyers, those incentives would reduce the cost of the new unit by 50 percent.

Those who upgrade, and those who already have stoves that are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency, will be allowed to continue burning except on the worst of the worst days.

“The decision was to reward Valley residents that have actually invested in clean units and care about what they do,” Sadredin said.

These changes should nudge the Valley closer to meeting a 2006 standard for tiny particulate pollution, he said. Failing to meet such standards can jeopardize regional transportation funding, not to mention the public health implications. Sadredin said the new wood-burning rule will prevent 30 to 50 premature deaths each year.

“Clearly, it’s in the best interest of people in our community who suffer from respiratory disease to not be exposed to these high levels of airborne pollution," said Gregory Bensch, a doctor with the Allergy, Immunology & Asthma Medical Group in Stockton.

“Frankly, if you look at it from a financial point of view, it saves us a lot of money. A lot of our dollars spent on public health care are in the emergency rooms dealing with asthma" and other ailments.

Of course, any attempt to regulate people’s fireplaces is likely to be controversial. Stockton-based Duraflame opposed the regulation, arguing that its manufactured logs produce less pollution than wood, and that residents who can’t afford to upgrade should have other options.

Dave Smith, owner of Dave’s Firewood off Alpine Road, sees a direct threat to his business.

“My sales are way down already,” he said. “I feel bad for my men. They could lose their jobs. But nothing can be done.”

He said he hears from many customers that they don’t like to be told when they can and cannot burn.

Businesses certified by the air district to install new stoves are decidedly more upbeat.

At Ben’s Appliance in Lodi, the $1,500 incentive available to Valley residents will typically knock off about half of the cost of a new unit, which otherwise might run about $3,000, said company president John Osburn.

“I was happy that the incentives did go up to the level that they did,” Osburn said. “It gives a lot of people a chance. Everybody’s winning: We clean up our air and people have an opportunity to afford these devices.”

The incentive to upgrade is even larger for those willing to switch to gas, totaling $2,000. Low-income residents who switch to gas can receive vouchers totaling up to $3,000.

There is some red tape, though. Clean stoves will have to be registered with the district. Starting in 2015-16, that will require paying a $12.50 fee every three years, and having your stove inspected to make sure it’s working correctly.

“We need to know who is registered and who has a clean unit for enforcement purposes so we don’t have to barge into people’s homes,” Sadredin said.

Speaking of enforcement, penalties are rising, too, for those who burn when they’re not supposed to. First-time offenses remain at $50, though that fee can be waived if violators attend a class. Second-time violations are doubling from $150 to $300.

Since they’ll know who has a registered stove and who doesn’t, district officials will also be able to target problem neighborhoods more efficiently, Sadredin said.

Asked if the district would someday end up banning wood burning throughout the Valley, Sadredin said he hopes this strengthening of the existing rule will be enough.

“If we get good participation,” he said, “I think we can say, ‘Mission accomplished.’ ”

Contact reporter Alex Breitler at (209) 546-8295 or Follow him at or on Twitter @alexbreitler.

source ... 087/A_NEWS
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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