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Unusual Smog Pattern Prompts Wood-Burning Fireplace Ban in Parts of L.A. Area

The restrictions include portions of the San Fernando Valley, West Hollywood and the Eastside.

Smog agency officials have banned the use of some home fireplaces starting at midnight Saturday, as an unusual smog pattern prompted air pollution warnings in the downtown Los Angeles area and most of the San Fernando Valley.

"This is the first time AQMD has issued this type of order under this program," agency spokesman Sam Atwood told City News Service. "It's our first mandatory no-burn order for the affected area."

Starting at midnight Saturday and lasting until midnight Sunday night, wood-burning fireplaces cannot be used in the affected area, which includes all or parts of North Hollywood, Studio City, Valley Village, Toluca Lake, West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Echo Park, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Highland Park, Mt. Washington, Eagle Rock and other areas.

First-time violators could be fined $50, and with fines going up to $500 for repeat offenders. Such "no burn alerts" are common in Northern and Central California, but rare in the Southland.

The affected area includes the central San Fernando Valley—generally north of the Ventura (101 and 134) freeways, east of the San Diego (405) Freeway, south of the Foothill (210) Freeway and west of the Glendale (2) Freeway.

In the L.A. basin, wood fires are banned generally east of Fairfax Avenue, north of Slauson Avenue, and west of the Long Beach (710) Freeway.

People may enter their zip codes on www.aqmd.gov/noburn to see if burning is against the law, The ban takes effect at midnight tonight and expires 24 hours later.

Atwood said the AQMD enacted new air pollution rules that took effect in November, 2011, that gave it the power to temporarily idle fireplaces and other wood fires. Tonight's ban is the first under  that program, and it includes artificial logs and wood pellets.

An unusual weather pattern was blamed for the no-burn order, and credited with giving the Inland Empire fabulously clean air but setting up the coastal area and valleys for widespread airborne crud.

The National Weather Service said a strong inversion layer and gentle offshore winds will prevail over the Los Angeles basin today and Sunday, causing dense overnight fog and warm daytime temperatures.

The marine layer is capped by a layer of hot, dry air at an altitude of under 400 feet above sea level, the NWS said at noon. That warmer air is 11 degrees warmer than the surface temperatures, and acts like a cap.

"Dense fog formed under the inversion, and it will be slow to clear," the NWS warned for Los Angeles today and Sunday.

The weak Santa Ana is triggering canyon winds of just 10-20 miles per hour, just enough to blow air pollution towards Santa Monica Bay, but not strong enough to blow it further.

That prompted the South Coast AQMD to issue a smog forecast for air that can be unhealthy for people in sensitive groups for Sunday in Metropolitan Los Angeles and the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys.

Air quality is designated "unhealthful for sensitive groups" when Air Quality Indices are from 101 to 150. At this level, active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion, the AQMD warns in its daily smog forecasts.

Greater L.A. is expected to see an AQI of 105 Sunday.

The Riverside, Big Bear and Coachella Valley areas are predicted to have good air quality Sunday, with AQI levels as low as 40.

nonoise November 27, 2012 at 03:49 PM
The state has no right to force anyone to have a "longer and safer" life. Longer and safer life should be choosen by the individual and not the government. Like smoking, drinking, drugs, fast food, wearing seat belts, wearing bicycle and motorcycle helmets, ect, ect. Where does the control stop? People need to be responsible for their own lives. People should have the freedom of choice and be responsible for their own lives. I thought Democrats were for freedom of choice. I guess not. They just want control OVER your life. It is no different than a parent that controls their kids until age 18. After that they are independent to control their own life. Government should not control your life. Freedom of choice means personal responsibility to chose.
gregorio -x November 27, 2012 at 04:59 PM
@nonoise. Yes, but the question arises when one's freedom of choice impinges on other's freedom...(not to breathe someone else's smoke stack...Of course, this is where unbiased scientific information plays a role in determining the degree of 'damage'). Seat belts, drugs, helmet, and similar; I agree with you.
Poopy McDoopy November 27, 2012 at 10:16 PM
You know how I know none of you READ the article?
Nimby pimp November 27, 2012 at 11:38 PM
You, Ms. Rocha are like a jukebox that plays only one bad song.
nonoise December 03, 2012 at 10:45 PM
NP, have no clue what your talking about.

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