Tuesday , February 20 2024

With Air Pollution Through The Roof, Why Was Some Burning Still Allowed?

Now that the storm front earlier this week cleaned up the air for much of the San Joaquin Valley, many residents may be looking forward to lighting up their wood-burning fireplaces. However, you might be surprised to learn that some burning was allowed even as air pollution reached dangerously unhealthy levels. The San Joaquin Valley air district regulates Valley emissions, and their winter wood-burning restrictions come in two flavors: No burning at all, or burning allowed only on registered devices–which burn more cleanly than conventional fireplaces but not as cleanly as not burning at all. And this middle ground is what was allowed in many Valley counties in much of the last two weeks. That’s because wood burning restrictions follow a hard-and-fast rule. As district representative Jaime Holt explains, when particle pollution falls under a certain level, burning on registered devices is allowed, even if the air smells bad and is visibly smoggy. “So it is not an arbitrary decision,”
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