Skip the Wood Burning, Be a #CleanAirChampion
Did you know? One wood fireplace emits the same amount of particulate pollution as 90 SUVs and one wood-burning stove pollutes as much as 3,000 natural gas furnaces.
This week’s Clean Air Champion tip is about wood burning.
Even though burning wood is festive at this time of year, it’s a significant polluter (estimated to contribute 5-26% of total pollution on a winter day, according to a presentation from Dr. Kelly Kerry to UCAIR).
Before you burn, make sure to check to see if it’s a no burn day.
The Salt Lake County Health Department prohibits burning solid fuel in fireplaces or wood burning stoves and bans outdoor fires (including bonfires, patio pits, and charcoal grill fires) on days that the State of Utah designates as either mandatory or voluntary air action (no burn) days.
You can check www.air.utah.gov (updated hourly) to see if mandatory action is in effect. This page also has in-depth information about pollutant levels, trends, and forecasts for each county.
Up to 70% of the wood smoke that exits a home’s chimney re-enters nearby homes—so if you’re not breathing it, your neighbors probably are. Wood smoke is particularly damaging to lungs and cardiovascular systems– particularly for sensitive groups.
That’s why, in Salt Lake County, the Health Department investigates complaints of wood burning on air action days and may issue a notice of violation.
The State of Utah also dispatches compliance officers to investigate wood smoke. Violations for wood burning on mandatory days now result in a first penalty of $150 and further penalties up to $299 per day.
So be sure to check the burn forecast if you’re hankering for that real fire.
Better yet, use your TV and create that fire-like ambiance (with crackling effects!) via YouTube or an app.
Skipping the wood fire is an easy and impactful way to make a difference this year on air quality. Thank you for being a #CleanAirChampion!
If you encounter someone burning wood on a voluntary or mandatory action day?