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"Check Before You Burn" Begins November 1 in Sacramento County

The second season of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District's Check Before You Burn program in Sacramento County begins November 1 and runs through February 28, 2009. It is the responsibility of residents to check each day if wood or other solid fuel burning, such as pellets, is allowed.

When air quality is forecast to be unhealthy, the District will restrict or prohibit the use of indoor and outdoor fireplaces and wood stoves, and fire pits and chimineas that burn wood, pellets, manufactured logs or any other solid fuel to keep particulate matter pollution down. A voluntary request to discourage burning will be issued when air pollution levels are forecast to be on the rise.

Levels of Restriction from Highest to Lowest:

Stage 2 - All Burning Prohibited

* All burning is prohibited in any device when air quality is forecast to exceed 40 micrograms per cubic meter. The law prohibits burning any solid fuel, including wood, manufactured logs and pellets.

Stage 1 - No Burn - Unless Exempt

* Burning is prohibited when air quality is forecast to be 36-40 micrograms per cubic meter unless EPA certified fireplace inserts or stoves, or pellet stoves are used.*

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Burning Discouraged - Voluntary

* Burning is discouraged when air quality is forecast to be 26-35 micrograms per cubic meter. Participation is voluntary.

Burn Cleanly - Ok to Burn

* When the forecast is 25 micrograms per cubic meter or lower, the public is allowed to burn and the burning of manufactured firelogs is acceptable at this level.

Five Ways to Check Before You Burn:

1. Visit www.AirQuality.org or
www.SpareTheAir.com

2. Call toll free - 877-662-8765 (877-NO-BURN-5) 3. Subscribe to Air Alert at www.SpareTheAir.com for e-mails featuring the daily burn status 4. Check the Sacramento Bee's weather page 5. Listen to local television and radio weather reports

Penalty and Enforcement:

Anyone cited for violating the mandatory restrictions will be subject to a $50 fine or be given the option to attend a class on acceptable burning practices. Fines for subsequent violations will be higher.

Enforcement will be through complaints (800-880-9025) and sightings of visible smoke by District enforcement staff.

*Exemptions:

Rule 421 - Mandatory Episodic Curtailment of Wood and Solid Fuel Burning exempts gas, propane or electric fireplaces and stoves; barbecues and other cooking devices; ceremonial fires related to specific religious activities; and homes where wood is the sole source of heating. Residents meeting financial hardship criteria as approved by the Air Pollution Control Officer will also be exempt.

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