Residents in the South Coast Air Quality Management District are prohibited from indoor and outdoor wood burning through Wednesday due to a forecast of high air pollution in the area.

The mandatory wood-burning ban has been extended through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday in the South Coast Air Basin, including Orange County and the non-desert portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties due to higher predicted particulate matter, or PM2.5 levels.

Monday marked the first No Burn Day Alert of the 2020-2021 season, which runs from November through the end of February, when particulate levels are highest.

“South Coast AQMD reminds residents in these areas that burning wood in their fireplaces or any indoor or outdoor wood-burning device is prohibited during the mandatory wood-burning ban,” according to an AQMD statement. “The no-burn rule prohibits burning wood as well as manufactured fire logs, such as those made from wax or paper.”

PM2.5 fine particles in wood smoke can get deep into the lungs and cause respiratory problems such as asthma.

No Burn Alerts do not apply to mountain communities above 3,000 feet elevation, the Coachella Valley or the High Desert or to homes that rely on wood as a sole source of heat, low-income households and those without natural gas service. The restriction does not apply to gas and other non-wood burning fireplaces.

Penalties for violating a wood-burning ban are completion of a wood smoke awareness course or $50 the first time, $150 or proof of installing a gas fireplace the second time and $500 the third time, according to AQMD Rule 445.

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