Valley residents discouraged from wood burning starting November 1

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Air quality experts say the haze over the Valley Friday was brought on by the people who live here. According to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, moisture from this week's rain combined with pollution left us with visible impacts.

"That includes residential wood burning, particle pollution from combustion engines and all of the various sources in the Valley," said Heather Heinks of SJV Air Pollution Control District.

Starting November 1, 'burn status' season is back. Depending on where you live, burning wood could lead to fines.

Each day, through the end of February, the air pollution control district determines whether it's safe to burn or not in each county. This includes fireplaces, agriculture burning and outdoor firepits. A violation could lead to a fine of $100.

"Be aware of the pollution you contribute and please, please make a choice not to burn in your fireplace," said Heinks.

If you make the switch from an old wood-burning fireplace to a new gas device, thousands of dollars could be up for grabs. Qualifying residents can get up to a $3,000 rebate for a natural gas insert or stove; up to $4,000 for a heat pump.

It's all part of the effort to minimize dangerous particulate matter that could pose hazards to health, especially for those with respiratory conditions.

"Aggravating bronchitis, triggering asthma, aggravating COPD, definitely making COVID an issue," said Heinks. "Any kind of respiratory condition... air pollution is going to exasperate."

You can learn more about clean burn rebates and check your burn status starting Nov. 1 here.
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