Wood burning barred in Maricopa County on Tuesday, New Year's Day

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) -- Higher expected air pollution levels have prompted environmental regulators to bar people in Maricopa County from starting wood-burning fires Tuesday and Wednesday.

Wood-burning fires at homes and New Year's fireworks are expected to raise metro Phoenix's particulate levels into an unhealthy range.

That expectation prompted regulators to issue a high pollution advisory for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Such advisories are issued when particulate matter levels are expected to exceed federal health standards for air quality. 

Inspectors will drive around neighborhoods to seek out violators and respond to complaints of wood burning.

First-time violators will receive a warning, while repeat offenders can face fines of up to $250 per violation.

No-burn restrictions include bans on burning wood in fireplaces, outdoor fire pits and chimineas.

Gas and electric heaters are allowed.