'No burn' day breakdown

7:47 PM, Dec 16, 2013   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO - A "No Burn" day was issued for the Sacramento County down south to San Joaquin County due to the poor air quality.

"There is no wind, no rain. Until this ridge of high pressure breaks, we're stuck in it and it becomes a build-up effect," said Lori Kobza with the Sacramento Air Quality Metropolitan Management District.

In Sacramento County, there have been 12 no-burn days since Nov. 1, but what's the consequence if you burn when you're told not to?

If you get caught burning on a no-burn day, you could be face a $50 fine for the first offense.

RELATED STORY: Clearing the air about burn restrictions

The air quality district has a field operations team who patrols the streets looking for offenders. They will also respond to calls made by neighbors.

"They are out by district just like law enforcement would be," said Kobza.

Kobza said 31 violations have been issued in Sacramento County since Nov. 1.

"Our enforcement team does not step on your property, we do not knock on your door, we do not go up to see if there's any heat coming from the chimney," said Kobza.

The officer must see smoke with their own eyes. If they do, photographs will be taken, a report will be filed and a notice of violation will be put in the mail.

While you're legally required to stop burning, there are some exceptions.

Devices that operate exclusively with natural gas or propane are exempt from a no-burn day.

In homes where wood burning is the sole source of heat or if you have a financial hardship, you can burn wood, logs or pellets. However, you must first fill out a waiver and have it approved by the district each burn season by the air pollution control officer.

"Fine particulate matter is bad for everyone," said Kobza.

Wood burning causes almost 50 percent of wintertime pollution in Sacramento County. The air quality is worse in the morning before the inversion layer lifts, so it's a good idea to save the outdoor jogs for the afternoon or evening if you can, said Kobza.


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