The Valley's Check Before you burn program, which bans the use of home fireplaces and other wood fires on certain days, begins its 11th season on Nov. 1.
Check Before You Burn, which has resulted in historically clean wintertime air quality in the Valley, continues through February. The Valley Air District calls this wood-burning curtailment program a critical tool in minimizing harmful particulate pollution.
"The understanding and cooperation of the Valley's residents has made this regulation the single-most cost-effective regulation on record in the air basin," said Seyed Sadredin, the Air District's executive director and air pollution control officer. "It's a matter of public health."
During Check Before You Burn season, the Air District issues a daily wood-burning forecast by county: either "Please Burn Cleanly" or "Wood-burning Prohibited." When wood burning is prohibited, burning any solid fuel is not allowed. A forecast of "Please Burn Cleanly" urges residents to use manufactured fire logs or dry, seasoned wood. And of course, gas fireplace use is always allowed.
There are two exceptions to wood-burning prohibitions, however: 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).
Using a fireplace or any wood-burning device – insert, stove or pellet stove – on a prohibited day without an exemption will result in a fine.
Daily wood-burning forecasts are available each day at 4:30 p.m. at http://www.valleyair.org/aqinfo/WoodBurnPage.htm, by calling 1-800 SMOG INFO (766-4463), by subscribing to a free daily email at http://www.valleyair.org/lists/list.htm, or by downloading a free iPhone app called "Valley Air" from the App Store or iTunes.
For more information about the Air District or Check Before You Burn, visit www.valleyair.org or call a District office: in Fresno at 559-230-6000, in Modesto at 209-557-6400 or in Bakersfield at 661-326-6900.