The South Coast Air Quality Management District has placed a residential ban on wood burning until Tuesday, which affects most of L.A. County, including the Santa Clarita Valley.
The no-burn rule will prohibit any burning of wood or manufactured fire logs made out of wax or paper in both indoor and outdoor settings. However, it does not include the use of “fake logs” in a gas fireplace.
“Do your part to help keep our air clean by not burning wood during the mandatory wood burning ban,” read a statement released by the SCAQMD on Monday. “No-burn day alerts are mandatory in order to protect public health when levels of fine particulate air pollution in the region are forecast to be high. Smoke from wood burning can cause health problems.”
The statement went on to say that fine particulate matter from wood smoke can get deep into the lungs and cause respiratory issues including asthma attacks and can contribute to lung disease such as cancer.
The ban comes amid a recent dip in air quality, possibly attributed to the rise in residents using their fireplaces to heat their homes as the holidays approach during cold weather.
According to Todd Hall, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Station in Oxnard, a low-pressure system has caused stagnant air. This, combined with increased wood burning, has contributed to the drop in air quality.
Hall also said the ban will most likely be extended throughout the week, as the system is not expected to pass until this weekend. There may be some reprieve in the form of Santa Ana winds, but Hall could make no guarantees.
The ban does not apply to mountain communities above 3,000 feet or to homes that rely solely on wood to heat their homes.
The SCAQMD does have the authority to cite those who violate the ban and, according to its website, a violation could result in either criminal or civil liability. Violations are judged on a case-by-case basis but fines range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.