DEQ urges residents to use the UtahAir app for air quality forecasts, current conditions and action alerts
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Division of Air Quality (DAQ) reminds Utah residents that wood burning restrictions will begin when high pollution days are forecasted beginning Nov. 1, 2022.
Wood smoke contributes to our winter inversion periods by releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and other fine particulates as the wood burns. In addition to the direct PM2.5 emitted from burning, VOCs and NOx react to form even more PM2.5.
Restricting wood burning is an effective strategy to curb some of these emissions, and are implemented as a proactive measure when DAQ scientists see the potential for unhealthy levels of emissions in the coming days from vehicles, as well as wood and coal burning fireplaces or stoves.
ACTION ALERTS AND HEALTH GUIDANCE
Each day during the winter, DAQ meteorologists issue Action Alerts and Health Guidance to help residents plan ahead and adjust their activities during periods of winter inversion:
Action Alerts notify the public of the actions needed to combat current pollution levels. Three basic symbols are used to indicate unrestricted, voluntary and mandatory actions.
Unrestricted Action (symbol = ): Wood and coal burning stoves or fireplaces may be used, but should be used in a proper manner to reduce smoke emissions.
Voluntary Action (symbol = ▼)*: Voluntarily do not use wood and coal burning stoves or fireplaces. Reduce vehicle use by taking public transit or consolidating trips. Industry should optimize operating conditions to minimize air pollution emissions.
Mandatory Action (symbol = 𝗫): Wood and coal burning stoves or fireplaces must not be used. Reduce vehicle use by consolidating trips. Industry should optimize operating conditions to minimize air pollution emissions.
When mandatory restrictions are in place, the use of solid fuel appliances may result in penalties up to $299 per day. If burning restriction violations are observed by the public, they should be reported to DAQ by calling 801-536-4000 during business hours or by filling out a simple form.
Health Guidance helps determine how the highest pollution level of the day will affect human health. These are the green, yellow, orange or red ratings based on how much PM2.5 pollution is currently in the air.
DAQ provides Utah residents with air quality forecasting throughout the winter through its UtahAir app, at air.utah.gov, or a toll-free message at 1-800-228-5434.