The 2012-13 season of the Don’t Light Tonight program will launch Thursday, the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District has announced.
Wood smoke is a significant contributor to wintertime air pollution in Yolo and Solano counties, an air district news release said. Wood smoke contains fine particulate pollution, which has been shown to have serious health effects when breathed, particularly for children, the elderly and those with respiratory ailments such as asthma.
Don’t Light Tonight is a program in which residents are asked to not burn wood on days on which higher levels of fine particulate pollution are forecast. Several weather conditions, including a lack of wind and dry spells, can help trap air pollution where we breathe, causing higher concentrations of fine particulates, the news release said.
The air district program is voluntary, but the Davis City Council has taken it one step further, by approving a mandatory wood-burning ordinance that will prohibit residents from lighting fires this winter on days with especially low air quality.
Residents who burn on the air district’s curtailment days and receive complaints from neighbors could be fined by the city up to $100 for the first offense, though the council stipulated in the ordinance that the first infraction, at least, should result in only a warning.
Further offenses could bring even higher fines.
There are four ways residents can find out if a Don’t Light Tonight advisory is in effect:
* Phone: The daily status will be available at 530-757-3787;
* Email: Subscribers to Yolo-Solano AQMD’s EnviroFlash service (http://ysaqmd.enviroflash.org) will get email alerts when an advisory has been called;
* Website: If an advisory has been called, a banner will appear on Yolo-Solano AQMD’s website at ysaqmd.org; and
* Facebook: By “liking” Yolo-Solano AQMD on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Yolo-Solano-Air-Quality/270412506406692), residents will be alerted if an advisory is called.
In addition, The Davis Enterprise will publicize no-burn days with notices on Page A2 of the paper.
“By working toward cleaner air throughout the season with special attention to the problem days, we can protect our neighbors most vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution,” said Mat Ehrhardt, executive director of the air district. “Before you light the log, please help the community by checking the status.”
Don’t Light Tonight advisories will be called as needed through February. Daily and five-day air quality forecasts also are available through EnviroFlash.