NEWPORT BEACH, CA — A mandatory "no burn" alert is in place across Orange County until early Wednesday morning, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. All residents are prohibited from indoor and outdoor wood burning due to a forecast of high air pollution in the area.
The mandatory wood-burning ban is in effect until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday in the South Coast Air Basin, including Orange County and the non-desert portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
"South Coast AQMD reminds residents in these areas that burning wood in their fireplaces or any indoor or outdoor wood-burning device is prohibited during the mandatory wood-burning ban," the AQMD noted in a statement. "The no-burn rule prohibits burning wood as well as manufactured fire logs, such as those made from wax or paper."
Fine particles in wood smoke, also known as particulate matter or PM2.5, can get deep into the lungs and cause respiratory problems such as asthma.
No Burn Alerts do not apply to mountain communities above 3,000 feet elevation, the Coachella Valley or the High Desert or to homes that rely on wood as a sole source of heat, low-income households and those without natural gas service. The restriction does not apply to gas and other non-wood burning fireplaces.
Monday's No Burn Day Alert, which was extended through Tuesday, was the first one issued for the 2020-2021 season, which runs from November through the end of February when particulate levels are highest.
Penalties for violating a wood-burning ban are completion of a wood smoke awareness course or $50 the first time, $150 or proof of installing a gas fireplace the second time and $500 the third time, according to AQMD Rule 445.