The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has issued a number of residential no-burn alerts in the last few months, due to recent wildfires in the region. If you’ve been following the alerts, and not using your fireplace, all of us thank you for avoiding adding more harmful particulates to the air. However, if you’ve been avoiding using your wood burning pizza oven, it turns out you can resume using it, even if there has been an alert.
“While they do apply to all indoor and outdoor residential wood burning, they do not apply to pizza ovens. So you can use the ovens even during a no-burn day,” explained Sam Atwood, Media Relations Manager at the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
We contacted Atwood to ask about pizza oven usage and to see if the recent rains might improve air quality.
“We’ve had a high number of no-burn days this winter due to stagnant weather conditions,” wrote Atwood in an email to the Buzz. “Rain in the forecast will mix the atmosphere and improve air quality.”
The no-burn prohibition also applies to manufactured fire logs, such as those made from wax or paper. The alert is for all those living in the South Coast Air Basin, which includes Orange County and non-desert portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. No-burn alerts are mandatory in order to protect public health. Particles in wood smoke – also known as fine particulate matter or PM2.5 – can get deep into the lungs and cause respiratory illnesses, increases in emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
SCAQMD’s Check Before You Burn program is in effect from November through the end of February, when particulate levels are highest. A link to additional information and an interactive no-burn alert map is available at www.AirAlerts.org. For 24-hour recorded Check Before You Burn information, call (866) 966-3293.
Pizza is back on the menu at our house, just in time for a blustery, chilly day!