LOS ANGELES (CNS) - If you're thinking of a romantic night in front of a roaring fireplace on Valentine's Day, think again.
A residential no-burn alert will be in effect today in the South Coast Air Basin, which includes Orange County and non-desert portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Burning wood in fireplaces or any indoor or outdoor wood-burning device is prohibited during the mandatory wood-burning ban, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, including the Coachella Valley.
The no-burn rule prohibits burning wood as well as manufactured fire logs, such as those made from wax or paper.
“No-burn alerts are mandatory in order to protect public health when levels of fine particulate air pollution in the region are forecast to be high,” according to an AQMD statement. “Smoke from wood burning can cause health problems. Particles in wood smoke -- also known as fine particulate matter or PM2.5 -- can get deep into the lungs and cause respiratory problems, including asthma attacks, increases in emergency room visits and hospitalizations.”
The AQMD's no-burn alerts do not apply to mountain communities above 3,000 feet in elevation, the Coachella Valley, or 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. Gas and other non- wood burning fireplaces are not restricted.
Residents can sign up at www.AirAlerts.org to receive email alerts when a mandatory no-burn alert is issued.
The AQMD's Check Before You Burn program is in effect from November through the end of February, when particulate levels are highest. Nineteen no- burn day alerts have so far been issued for the 2019-20 season.
Additional information is available at www.AirAlerts.org. For 24-hour recorded information, call 866-966-3293. An interactive map is available at www.aqmd.gov/CheckBeforeYouBurnMap.