Wood burning banned Wednesday, Thursday in metro Phoenix

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX (AP) -- Environmental regulators have issued a ban on burning wood in metro Phoenix on New Year's Eve.
 
The restriction was issued because pollution levels on Wednesday may exceed federal health standards.
 
A no-burn ban has been issued for New Year's Day, too.
 
Smoke from wood-burning fireplaces and smoke from fireworks are expected to worsen air quality.
 
A small team of inspectors will drive around neighborhoods to seek out violators and respond to complaints.
 
First-time violators will receive a warning, while repeat offenders can face fines of up to $250 per violation.  
 
Smoke and soot from wood-burning pose risks to people with asthma and other respiratory ailments.
 
Maricopa County also could face fines, lose funding from Washington and require tougher regulations if it's found to violate federal health standards.