Ban issued on wood-burning fires in metro Phoenix

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Phoenix's no-burn restrictions crimp celebrations

PHOENIX (AP) -- Gathering around a fire is a mainstay in many Christmas celebrations, but concerns over pollution have prompted environmental regulators to bar people in Maricopa County from starting wood-burning fires on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A small team of inspectors will drive around neighborhoods to seek out violators and respond to complaints of wood burning.

First-time violators will receive a warning.

Repeat offenders can face fines as much as $250 per violation.

Maricopa County Air Quality Department spokesman Bob Huhn says environmental regulators understand that they are asking some people to crimp their traditions on both Christmas Eve and Christmas day, but said the quality of air that's breathed by people in the county is the overriding concern.

Regulators have issued a high pollution advisory for Christmas Day.

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