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AQMD Issues Wood-Burning Ban for Wednesday

The air quality for Wednesday in the South Bay, Long Beach and parts of Orange County is predicted to be unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Editor's note: This article was updated at 7:40 p.m. with details on fines for violators of the no-burn order.

Residents from Marina del Rey through Long Beach in Los Angeles County, as well as several coastal Orange County areas, will be under a "no-burn" alert from midnight Tuesday through midnight Wednesday due to an unhealthy air quality forecast from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

According to an email alert from the AQMD, the air quality for Wednesday is predicted to be unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Because of this, residents may not burn "wood or manufactured fire logs" in their fireplaces or outdoor fire pits from midnight tonight through midnight Wednesday under the AQMD's "Check Before You Burn" program, Sam Atwood of the AQMD said.

People caught burning wood in their fireplaces during a no-burn alert face fines, according to an email from the AQMD. First-time violators can be fined $50, though they may attend a wood smoke awareness course in lieu of paying the fine. On the second violation, the fine increases to $150, or the resident may install a dedicated gas-fueled fireplace. Third-time violators will be either fined $500 or forced to fund a project that will benefit the environment.

Multiple violations are accrued during individual wood-burning seasons from November through February. To report a suspected violation, call 800-288-7664 or visit aqmd.gov.

The no-burn area stretches from Inglewood on the north to Laguna Niguel on the south, to Anaheim Hills on the east. In Los Angeles County, it includes the cities of Culver City, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hawthorne, Gardena, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, the Palos Verdes Peninsula, San Pedro and Long Beach, among others, according to a map provided by the AQMD.

Wood burning creates an average of 5 tons of harmful PM2.5—very fine particulate matter that's 1/30th the width of a human hair—emissions per day in the South Coast Air Basin, which is four times the amount emitted from all power plants in the area, according to the AQMD. These small particles can lodge deep in the lungs and cause respiratory health problems, and long-term exposure can lead to reduced lung function and chronic bronchitis.

According to Dr. Joshua Davidson, a physician in Torrance who specializes in allergy and immunology, air quality alerts should be taken seriously.

"Individuals with COPD, asthma and hay fever should consider spending a good amount of time indoors (Wednesday)," he said. "Limiting outdoor exercise is also a good idea."

—City News Service contributed to this report.

Joshua Davidson January 08, 2013 at 11:05 PM
As a physician who specializes in Allergy and Immunology, I know that these alerts should be taken seriously. I wish they would simply put out a poor air quality warning, rather than couching it as a wood-burning ban. Either way, individuals with COPD, asthma and hay fever should consider spending a good amount of time indoors tomorrow. Limiting outdoor exercise is also a good idea.
Nicole Mooradian (Editor) January 08, 2013 at 11:12 PM
Thanks for the info, Joshua. I'm going to include it in the story. The AQMD sent out two alerts—one for the wood-burning ban and one for the poor air quality. Because they're related, I put them in the same story.
Bill Brand January 08, 2013 at 11:36 PM
Wow! Is the AQMD on the AES payroll too? Is the last point of this article that Redondo residents should not be concerned that a new AES plant will increase particulate emissions to their town at a rate of 2-5 times that of PCH everyday it operates, not just in the winter. Should we ignore that the three new stacks will be lower, laying the dangerous emissions closer to the ground? Lets not forget that wood burning logs is not a major component of air pollution in the summer when a new power plant will be the major source. Where's the paragraph about about how the new Redondo AES power plant is going increase particulate emissions 5-15 times and no alerts will be issued because it will only be a local exposure, not a regional one the AQMD only seems to care about. But of course, even the regional impacts are exempted by AQMD Rule 1304, which allows AES to violate normal rules requiring offsets. According to AES' own application for a new permit, the concentration of dangerous particulate emissions IN OUR AREA is already out of compliance with both State and Federal standards, and their emissions are going to move OUR AREA even further out of compliance. Seems the AQMD only cares about the region, which is why Redondo residents need to vote YES on A. NO new power plant. Shame on the AQMD for ignoring local impacts.
Dan Krauss January 09, 2013 at 12:57 AM
Bill -- What the hell are you talking about? This is an article about a wood burning ban for today and tomorrow. What does the new power plant have to do with this article? Unless you have a plan to tear it down between now and tomorrow, your hissy fit comment is totally irrelevant to this article and the immediate alert it is talking about. Why in God's name would you expect the author to write about the power plant in this article??? As I said on another article, I am so tired of the No Power Plant people hijacking every single article on the internet to argue about the power plant. Sure, I understand the debate and comments on actual power plant articles, but as I said before, I am waiting for the No Power Plant people to hijack an article on the Cat of the Week (This cat of the week will DIE of particulates anyway!!! Don't adopt him!!). Like most people, I don't like the power plant and would love to see it go but the tactics of the No Power Plant folks like you Mr. Brand piss me off beyond belief. It is to the point where I will mostly likely be voting NO on Measure A just because I hate how you are going about it. I would rather inhale particulates than read the pollution that is spewed out on every single article, regardless of whether it is about the power plant or not. I am authoring Measure B that rezones Bill Brand and Jim Light's computers to keep them from posting comments on articles irrelevant to the power plant debate. YES on Measure B.
Jim Light January 09, 2013 at 01:02 AM
Dan, Bill is addressing the article's comparison to power plant emissions. So Bill's comments do address the article. Vote how you want, but at least read the article before you go on an ad hominem attack. If you have a problem with the veracity of the information, then post a cogent, substantiated rebuttal. I did like your Cat of the Week reference. It made me laugh, so thanks for bringing some humor to the debate.
Robert Keane January 09, 2013 at 01:34 AM
Look at that! Bill Brand is speaking and you can't even see Jim Lights mouth moving!I love good ventriloquism.
Bob Boren January 09, 2013 at 02:02 AM
Yeah, any minute Sheri is going to show up too. Wonder if they got a cut of Al Gore's big oil payoff for Current TV. These guys remind me of Matt Damon, putting an anti fracking propaganda piece on the screen, funded by Arab Oil producers. They think we are stupid...lol.
pat lynch January 09, 2013 at 06:50 AM
It seems as if the Government never stops intruding into our lives. Frankly, I am more than sick of it. They rarely enforce any law that helps citizens who pay their salaries. They seem to curtail so many of our freedoms to let us know that they are doing something, but rarely do they take on any of the real issues that matter. Notice that most of their curtailments cost them nothing but annoyance to us. So many pigs at the trough.
DR January 09, 2013 at 07:48 AM
AQMD is putting into perspective how much more harmful wood burning fireplaces are as opposed to ALL of the power plants in the LA Basin. So ridding one power plant will have little overall impact on emissions at all. For those that are tired of the NIMBY rhetoric, we invite you to visit www.RevitalizeRedondo.org and support a No Vote on Measure A.
Fred Reardon January 09, 2013 at 09:22 AM
Whether you like the discussion or not, many of us are concerned about the amount of pollution entering our lungs. Bill and others have a right and are doing us a service by pointing out the hypocrisies of the AQMD. If a neighbor was attempting to attain a permit to have a constantly burning bonfire sending smoke into your backyard and house everyday, I am sure you would fight it. AQMD's standards for monitoring toxic source emissions effects on nearby populations are weak, neglectful and dangerous to those within close range. Would you make your kid stand in the smoke around your campfire? The connection of poor air quality to the AES new plant permit debate is timely and spot on. Yes, of course the debate should be about "not in someone's backyard." Because, no one should have a power plant, literally, in their backyard exposing them to the dangers associated with breathing in the toxic chemicals without enough buffer for them to dissipate. No one has entitlement to electricity generation at expense of others health. This proposed plant is not necessary for grid reliability. When discussing air quality warnings, I am perplexed as to why someone would criticize others for mentioning a concern related to our biggest local threat to clean air? This new plant will massively increase local air pollution?
Fred Reardon January 09, 2013 at 09:28 AM
Why isn't the AQMD putting out statements like "The air pollution levels are at a saturation point, therefore the AQMD does not support increasing air pollution via a nonessential "not must run" power generation facility." Do you really expect people to exempt all the new pollution proposed, from the new power plant, from the air quality debate? Some people want to expose RB citizens to a toxic plume for some reason. Well now we have Measure A, and those of us that do not want this additional pollution can vote to change the zoning and send a message to the California Energy Commission that we don't want AES to receive a permit to increase what, already, is a dangerously high amount of air pollution in our area. Stop the additional pollution. Now is our chance! Vote Yes on Measure A.
Bob Boren January 09, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Brand is upset about this article because it mentions a fact that makes the Measure A folks look like they are lying. And in my opinion, they are. I don't look at Measure A as a "public service" at all. It's an attempt to nullify property rights of fellow citizens. And it's easy to scare people about things as harmless as Natural Gas power plants by bending the truth. These are the folks who put out fliers showing kids with gas masks on. They also like to say that people who don't agree with them are on the AES "payroll". I resent those tactics.
L. Campeggi January 09, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Bob, The particulate matter pollution increase of 500% to 1500% of a new power plant (17.1 tons - 49.7 tons annually depending on the run rate capacity, anywhere from 25% to 73%) is documented in AES' application to the CEC that AES filed on November 21, 2012. The numbers are theirs. And they clearly demonstrate that a new power plant will be DIRTIER, not cleaner. Here's the link to their application and all other documentation related to this project, including the "intervener" concerns from the City of Redondo Beach: http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/redondo_beach/documents/ At present, the existing power plant emits 3.3 tons of particulate matter annually. With proposed smoke stacks lower to the ground and a drastic increase in operating capacity, this 44-ton increase in dangerous, toxic pollution permeates the community even more as lower plumes decrease dissipation into the atmosphere. Proximity matters when it comes to particulate matter pollution. This is not mentioned in the AQMD article above. YES on Measure A, March 5, 2013!
Alexander Starr January 09, 2013 at 07:02 PM
AQMD is concerned about "wood burning fires" for air quality? Is this a joke? If you want to stop a new Redondo Beach AES POWERPLANT on our waterfront that will massively increase pollution of our LOCAL South Bay air for the next 50+ years and consequently harm our health, blights our harbor for future generations, and pays little taxes, then vote March 5th!! YES on MEASURE A It's our chance of a lifetime!
Jim Light January 09, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Bob, The opposition mailers, the opposition lawn signs, a City Planning Commissioner and at least one resident are all funded by AES. The people you are denigrating are unpaid volunteers committed to improving our city.
Cameron Robertson January 09, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Anyone know where I can get some free waffle fries and a Dr. Pepper around here?
Cindy January 10, 2013 at 12:51 AM
I don't think enough people know about this. Right now my neighbor is BBQ with lots of lighter fluid and smells horrible!
M, Bormann January 10, 2013 at 01:30 AM
Call the swat team.
Fred Reardon January 10, 2013 at 01:50 AM
For those of you that are new to the debate, please do a little research and you will find Bob B's property and pollution arguments to be incorrect and simply "pro new power plant propaganda." No one's trying to take a AES's property. Measure A rezone's the property. The zoning change ends power generation uses on the site and acts to end the property owner's (AES) plan to pollute our families lungs. It does not "take" their property. Also, AES is not our neighbor. AES is a Virginia-based corporation that pollutes all over the world. And, AES didn't act very neighborly a decade ago when...From the "Los Angeles Times" November 16, 2002 by Nancy Rivera Brooks, Times Staff Writer"New Evidence of Fraud in Power Crisis" Workers at AES Corp. and Williams Cos. agreed to idle California plants to drive up electricity prices, federal regulators allege. http://articles.latimes.com/2002/nov/16/business/fi-williams16 The only one trying to steal property is AES and that property is our clean air. AES does not have a right to run a new plant. It's the decision of Redondo Beach citizens via zoning and the people of California via the California Energy Commission. So the notion that someone is taking their property is unfounded. They don't have a permit for a new plant. Hey Bob, why didn't your buddies at AES create their propaganda mailer cover photo with their paid model riding a bicycle with the giant AES smokestacks in the background? Stop pollution in the South Bay… Yes on A.
Bob Boren January 10, 2013 at 02:57 AM
Hey, Reardon, I think we ought to re-zone the property your home sits on so you can't live on it anymore. After all, it's not "taking" your property. You still own it, you just can't live there anymore. How would you like that? As for propaganda, fliers showing little kids playing with Gas Masks on is the lowest kind of scare tactic. You guys should be ashamed. No on Measure A. Save property rights. The next "activist" group to come along may take something that you care about away.
Jim Light January 10, 2013 at 03:34 AM
As usual apples and oranges, Bob.. I am sure Fred's home is surrounded by other homes. His home does not emit tons of pollutants. It does not blight their properties. It is not 80 feet high. It does not have turbines and pumps and fans running round the clock. It does not lower surrounding property values and business revenues. The AES power plant is incompatible with development on mall sides of its property line. It is no longer needed and it is bad for our town. It is time for it to go. Where were you when the city rezoned thousands of properties in 1992? Commercial and Industrial to residential, downzoning residential properties. Where were your cries then? Where were you when Mayor Gin vetoed the Pearl Plaza project that conformed with all zoning requirements? No Bob Boren rants then. Hmmm. Look at the small print on all those anti-measure A fliers and lawn signs....funded by AES. Don't fall for it.
Fred Reardon January 10, 2013 at 05:06 AM
Come on Bob, put the gloves back on. Please let me know why you think it's okay for AES to take our private property...our clean air? Feel free to take a few days to report back on this. And, it's cool if you need to confirm strategy with headquarters in Virginia. I understand this is an exasperatingly difficult curveball. Please warm-up before entering the batter's box. I don't want you to sound hypocritical on this response.

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