No wood-burning fires allowed in Maricopa County on Christmas Eve

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By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny

PHOENIX -- If you're planning on relaxing in front of a cozy fire Wednesday night, you should know the Maricopa County Air Quality Department says Christmas Eve will be a "No Burn Day."

That decision stems from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's decision to issue a High Pollution Advisory for Wednesday. Anticipating higher than normal levels of fine particulate matter, especially soot, in the air, ADEQ cites stagnant weather conditions as the reason for the advisory.

As with any such advisory, ADEQ recommends that people who suffer from respiratory issues limit their outdoor activities.

The "No Burn Day" restriction includes people and businesses that have permits for open burning. Inspectors will be out and about to enforce the mandate.

Even though the agency will have monitors in the field, it relies on citizens "to help in the regulation of air quality in Maricopa County."

To report a violation, call 602-372-2703 or fill out the Air Quality Department's online form. You also can file a report via the Clean Air Make More app for iOS and Android.

"We understand that many people will have family and friends over for the holidays and gathering around a fire may be part of the holiday celebrations. However, when soot concentrations reach these levels, they present a serious health risk to children, older adults, and people with pre-existing respiratory conditions," Maricopa County Air Quality Director Phillip McNeely said in a news alert. "Please think about your neighbors and avoid contributing to air pollution by not lighting a wood-burning fire during this period."

ADEQ said it is likely that the High Pollution Advisory, and thus the "No Burn Day" restriction, will remain in place through Thursday.

Gas-fed fires are still allowed on designated no burn days.