Air-clearing restrictions on fireplaces begin next week
SALT LAKE CITY — It’s that time of year again when an unhealthy inversion can leave a cloud of pollution hanging over the Wasatch Front.
That means residents need to check on wood-burning restrictions starting November 1.
The wood releases 2.5 (PM2.5), or fine particles of air pollution into the air adding to the infamous inversion.
Taking a chance on firing up that wood-burning furnace during a no-burn day can be expensive. The Utah Department of Air Quality says fines are up to $299 per day.
It’s especially tricky in Salt Lake County where mandatory burn restrictions are in place even on the days when DAQ says it is voluntary.
The goal is to limit pollution when scientists predict unhealthy levels of fine particulates in the air.
The DAQ released the following guide to help people plan ahead.
- Action Alerts notify the public of the actions needed to combat current pollution levels. Three basic symbols are used to indicate unrestricted, voluntary, and mandatory actions.
- Unrestricted Action (symbol = ⚫): Wood and coal-burning fireplaces may be used but should be used in a proper manner to reduce smoke emissions.
- Voluntary Action (symbol = ▼)*: Voluntarily do not use wood and coal-burning stoves. Reduce vehicle use by taking public transit or 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.
- Health Guidance helps determine how the highest pollution level of the day will affect human health. These are the green, yellow, orange or red ratings based on how much pollution is currently in the air.
DAQ provides Utah residents with air quality forecasting throughout the winter through its UtahAir app, at air.utah.gov, or a toll-free message at 1-800-228-5434.
The Wood Stove and Fireplace Conversion Assistance Program provides incentives to eligible Utah residents to improve winter time air quality by reducing wood smoke pollutants. The next event begins Nov. 7 for Box Elder, Davis, Salt Lake, and Weber counties.
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