MARICOPA COUNTY (December 20, 2012) - The Maricopa County Air Quality Department has issued a mandatory No Burn Day for Friday, December 21, due to smoke from wood fires, including fireplaces, creating elevated levels of fine particulate matter, PM-2.5.
Historically data shows particulate pollution levels spike during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, as fireplace activity increases. The air quality forecast, from Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, for this weekend indicates stagnant weather conditions will continue. This will increase the concentrations of fine particulates in our air. Combustion from woodburning fires is a strong contributor pollution.
The purpose of the No Burn Day restrictions is to help protect our residents and avoid adding pollution to our air, when the forecast suggests air quality will approach or exceed the federal health standard. Fireplace pollution is something within our control. Take action by curtailing any woodburning activites.
“Unfortunately the sheer numbers of wood burning fires we have this time of year often overwhelm our atmosphere's ability to disperse it,” Maricopa County Air Quality Department Director, Bill Willey said. “Please respect the health of your neighbors by using an alternative, like a gas fireplace, this holiday season.”
This health watch includes the following restrictions:
- Eliminate wood burning in fireplaces, stoves, chimineas and outdoor fire pits.
- Drive as little as possible: car pool, use public transit or telecommute. For information on transportation alternatives, visit Valley Metro: www.valleymetro.org. or call 602-253-5000.
- Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.
- Avoid activities that generate dust, such as driving on dirt roads.
To learn more about the air you’re breathing, visit: www.CleanAirMakeMore.com
Please take note that approved residential woodburning devices or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved devices such as gas fireplaces, gas logs and pellet stoves, are permitted.
PARTICULATE MATTER BACKGROUND: State and county agencies measure PM-10 and PM-2.5 which are extremely small solid particles and liquid droplets found circulating in the air. PM, or particulate matter, comes from either combustion (cars, industry, woodburning) or dust stirred up into the air. High levels of PM are typically created when the air is especially stagnant or especially windy.
PM-10 stands for particulate matter measuring 10 microns or less. PM-2.5 stands for particulate matter measuring 2.5 microns or less. To put this in perspective, one strand of human hair is 70-100 microns in size.
"Health Watch" means the highest concentration of pollution may approach the federal health standard. Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion during a health watch.
"High Pollution Advisory" or "HPA" means the highest concentration of pollution may exceed the federal health standard. Active children, adults and people with lung disease such as asthma should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion. Maricopa County employers enlisted in the Trip Reduction Program are asked to activate their HPA plans on high pollution advisory days.
About Maricopa County Air Quality Department
The Maricopa County Air Quality Department is a regulatory agency whose goal is to ensure federal clean air standards are achieved and maintained for the residents and visitors of Maricopa County. The department is governed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and follows air quality standards set forth by the federal Clean Air Act.
The department offers air quality information and resources on its Clean Air Make More website. Visit www.CleanAirMakeMore.com to learn more.
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Public Information Officer