2010 March 5: CA Sacramento: Wetter weather credited for reducing Sacramento fireplace no-burn days

2010 March 5: CA Sacramento: Wetter weather credited for reducing Sacramento fireplace no-burn days

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com
Published: Friday, Mar. 5, 2010 – 8:07 am
Last Modified: Friday, Mar. 5, 2010 – 8:54 am
There were fewer mandatory no-burn days this year for fireplace users in Sacramento County, mostly thanks to a change in the weather, officials said.
The "Check Before You Burn" program ended Sunday. It resumes Nov. 1.
The program is meant ot reduce harmful emissions from wood burning, especially fireplaces. Wood burning accounts for about 50 percent of wintertime air particles as opposed to vehicle emissions, which are a prominent source of summer pollution.
The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District provides daily instructions for residents who want to light a fire from November through February.
Stage 1 is a no-burn day with some exceptions. Stage 2 is all burning prohibited. This season, 2009-10, there were fewer Stage 1 or Stage 2 days.
2009-10, Stage 1: Nine days.
2009-10, Stage 2: 12 days.
2008-09, Stage 1: 10 days.
2008-09 Stage 2: 28 days.
Meteorological conditions factored into the improvement, air officials said. There has been more rain and fewer inversion layers that would trap the smoke.
"But we definitely do see lower particulate matter pollution readings that we would like to attribute to the program — and the fact that people do consistently check before they burn," said the air district’s spokeswoman Lori Kobza.
During the check before burning season, residents can call (877) 662-8765. To check burn status, residents can also sign up for air alert e-mails or check The Bee’s weather page.
In January, almost 16,500 people called the wood smoke hotline.
Not everyone was cooperating. The air quality district issued 136 violations during the just-ended season.
With overnight temperatures forecast in the mid-40s, some residents still want to light a fire. Go right ahead, but keep in mind certain ways to keep smoke in control.
"There are still proper burning techniques that people can use to maximize the energy efficiency and not put too much pollution into the air," said Kobza.
Here are some ways to reduce woodsmoke pollution even though the "Check Before You Burn" program restrictions are not in force again until Nov. 1:
� Buy a natural gas fireplace insert, instead of the traditional wood-burning fireplace.
� Don’t burn wet wood.
� Cover stored wood to protect it from rain.
� Don’t burn glossy paper or painted wood.
� Have chimney inspected and cleaned annually.
� Give a fire room to burn — a fire with good air circulation produces less smoke.
� Wear a sweater, instead of lighting a fire.
Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.
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