Why Check Before You Burn?

Take part in Check Before You Burn and help Southern California reduce air pollution and health risks.

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Why do we need “Check Before You Burn”?

The Check Before You Burn" initiative was created to reduce pollution and protect public health from the harmful emissions of wood burning. Despite steady progress toward improved air quality, Southern California still has the worst pollution in the country. According to the California Air Resources Board, about 4,100 premature deaths in this region each year are due to man-made PM2.5. From switching to gas fireplaces to using your fireplace responsibly, every small step toward cleaner air will help protect your respiratory health.

So take part in Check Before You Burn and help Southern California in these ways:

Reduce Pollution Caused by Wood Burning

Wood burning creates an average of 5 tons of harmful PM2.5 emissions per day in the South Coast Air Basin. That’s four times the amount of PM2.5 emitted from all of the power plants in the area! And it’s even worse in the winter, when wood burning is at its peak. From November through February, pollution from wood burning has been estimated to cause more than 10 tons per day of PM2.5 emissions.

Since November 1, 2011, wood burning in the South Coast Air Basin has been prohibited every year from November 1 through the end of February when No-Burn alerts are issued due to forecasts of unhealthy levels of PM2.5.

There are plenty of wood-burning alternatives and resources to help you switch to cleaner-burning gas log sets.

Reduce Health Risks Caused by Wood Burning

Pollution from wood smoke contains very small particles known as PM2.5. These particles are 2.5 microns in diameter – that’s 1/30th the width of a human hair! Because it’s so small, PM2.5 can lodge deep in the lungs and cause a variety of respiratory health problems.

Long-term exposure to PM2.5 can lead to reduced lung function and chronic bronchitis. In some cases, prolonged exposure to this harmful substance may even lead to premature death. Short-term exposure can make existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or lung disease worse. It may also increase the risk of respiratory infections, and those with heart disease could even be at risk for heart attacks or arrhythmia. Young children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to the effects of PM2.5.

E-Mail Notification Program

You can also sign up to receive Air Alerts on air quality and to be notified when a mandatory no-burn alert has been issued for your neighborhood.

Toll-free Phone Number

Check Before You Burn information can also be obtained by calling 866-966-3293.

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South Coast Air Quality Management District

21865 Copley Dr, Diamond Bar, CA 91765



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