A "no burn alert"—a wood burning ban placed in effect due to an elevated particulate matter air quality forecast—is in place for all day Saturday, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The ban applies to residents in the South Bay, as well as other areas in Los Angeles County and several coastal Orange County areas.
Residents are prohibited from burning "wood or manufactured fire logs" in their fireplaces or outdoor fire pits on Friday and Saturday under the AQMD's "Check Before You Burn" program, according to an alert from the AQMD.
The no-burn area stretches from Inglewood on the north to San Clemente in the south, and encompasses the coast to up to 20 miles inland. In Los Angeles County, it includes the entire South Bay and much of the Westside, among other areas, according to a map provided by the AQMD.
There is an exemption to the alert for homes where wood burning is the only source of heat and where no natural gas service is available.
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.
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 (on no burn days)," he told Patch last year. "Limiting outdoor exercise is also a good idea."
Residential wood burning advisories are automatically implemented when PM2.5 particle pollution exceeds 30 micrograms per cubic meter in the months of November, December, January and February.
—City News Service contributed to this report.