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Annual ‘No Burn’ campaign kicks off for winter

12/16/2015

NORTH VALLEY – ‘No Burn’ day? Don’t burn wood. This simple message from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Maricopa County Air Quality Department offers a way to help keep Maricopa County’s air cleaner.

ADEQ and MCAQD have announced the kickoff of their annual Maricopa County ‘No Burn’ campaign. MCAQD issues no burn days throughout the winter season and asks county residents to refrain from lighting wood-burning fires on those designated days. To find out if it is a no burn day, visit CleanAirMakeMore.com, download the Clean Air Make More mobile app, or call (602) 506-6400.

Smoke from wood-burning fireplaces and chimineas during winter months poses a serious health threat to children with asthma, the elderly, and those with respiratory issues. Smoke, which contains soot particles, can be absorbed into the blood stream and lessen lung function, exacerbate bronchitis and asthma, and increase chances for heart attacks and premature death. Left uncorrected, high levels of Particulate Matter-2.5 (PM 2.5) from smoke could cause Maricopa County to exceed the federal health standards, leading to more burdensome and costly federal regulation.

This is the third year of the No Burn campaign, and this past winter season was its most successful. For the first time in 11 years, Maricopa County residents benefited from no exceedances of the state and federal annual 24-hour health standard for PM 2.5, on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Maricopa County also met the annual federal health standard for PM 2.5.

“We want to thank the residents of Maricopa County for supporting last year’s ‘No Burn’ campaign, which allowed everyone to enjoy cleaner air,” Maricopa County Air Quality Director Philip McNeely said. “We must remain vigilant, however, because without voluntary compliance, there could be stricter regulations and stronger fines.”

While the No Burn campaign focuses particularly on education, those who violate the No Burn regulations can face fines. Anyone using a non-approved residential wood burning device during a No Burn Day and who has not been issued an exemption will be given a warning and educational material for the first violation. After the initial warning, those who continue to violate No Burn Days may be fined $50 for the second violation, $100 for the third violation, and $250 for fourth and subsequent violations.

This season, ADEQ and MCAQD are joined by nearly 100 partners and stakeholders including several cities, towns and county agencies, Bashas’ Family of Stores, Arizona Rock Products Association, and the Arizona Chapter Associated General Contractors. This year, several new partners including the Arizona Association of Community Managers, the Better Business Bureau, Tonto National Forrest, and Lyft also are contributing.

ADEQ Air Quality Division Director Eric Massey said, “Building on last year's successful ‘No Burn” campaign, the focus for 2015 is strengthening and expanding our partners and leveraging technology to reach more Maricopa County residents than ever before using innovative and cost-effective ways.”

To learn the latest air quality forecast and No Burn Day status, you can download the Clean Air Mobile App, sign up for email or text alerts, visit CleanAirMakeMore.com each day, or call (602) 506-6400.