Wood-Burning Fireplaces Prohibited Friday in Malibu

The air quality for Friday is predicted to be unhealthy, according to an email alert from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Patch file photo
Patch file photo

By Nicole Mooradian

Residents in the coastal areas of Los Angeles County and Orange County and nearby will be under a "no burn alert" on Friday due to an elevated particulate matter air quality forecast from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

According to an email alert from the AQMD, the air quality for Friday is predicted to be unhealthy.

Because of this, residents are prohibited from burning "wood or manufactured fire  logs" in their fireplaces or outdoor fire pits on Friday under the AQMD's "Check Before You Burn" program, according to an alert from the AQMD.

The no-burn area stretches from Inglewood on the north to San Clemente in the south, and encompasses from the coast to up to 20 miles inland. In Los Angeles County, it includes Malibu, Calabasas, Agoura and much of the Westside, among other areas, according to a map provided by the AQMD.

Wood burning creates an average of 5 tons of harmful PM2.5—very fine particulate matter that's 1/30th the width of a human hair—emissions per day in the South Coast Air Basin, which is four times the amount emitted from all power plants in the area, according to the AQMD. These small particles can lodge deep in the lungs and cause respiratory health problems, and long-term exposure can lead to reduced lung function and chronic bronchitis.

People caught burning wood in their fireplaces during a no-burn alert face fines, according to an email from the AQMD. First-time violators can be fined $50, though they may attend a wood smoke awareness course in lieu of paying the fine. On the second violation, the fine increases to $150, or the resident may install a dedicated gas-fueled fireplace. Third-time violators will be either fined $500 or forced to fund a project that will benefit the environment.

Multiple violations are accrued during individual wood-burning seasons from November through February. To report a suspected violation, call 800-288-7664 or visit aqmd.gov.

Residential wood burning advisories are automatically implemented when PM2.5 particle pollution exceeds 30 micrograms per cubic meter in the months of November, December, January and February. The rule only applies to residences in the South Coast Air Basin at elevations below 3,000 feet.

There is an exemption to the alert for homes where wood burning is the only source of heat and where no natural gas service is available. 

—City News Service contributed to this report.

Cricket December 13, 2013 at 09:16 AM
Malibu is not included in this ban.
Kim Ledoux December 13, 2013 at 11:51 AM
The article says it is???
Diana Swartz (Editor) December 13, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Hi, Cricket. If you go to the AQMD website and enter a Malibu ZIP code (90263, 90264 or 90265), you'll see the city is included in the ban. http://www.aqmd.gov/
Joseph Delano December 13, 2013 at 01:45 PM
"Wood Smoke Awareness" course??? Fireplace Police? Our society has become a joke.
Charles C. Fu December 13, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Coastal Los Angeles is under a "no burn alert" today due to forecasted unhealthy air quality. The alert prohibits burning in fireplaces and fire pits from the coast to twenty miles inland. The current air quality index in Malibu is 2 but is forecasted to reach 57 this afternoon (51 is the threshold for moderate air quality, 151 is unhealthy). For comparison, the air quality index in Beijing just came down to 169 from its peak of 197 earlier today.
Diana Mullen December 13, 2013 at 04:01 PM
What's going on today that the air is so unhealthy in the first place?!
hellwood December 13, 2013 at 08:09 PM
Oh well...I guess my family will have to huddle around the BBQ tonight to stay warm. Maybe Obama could make it illegal to not have gas service as part of his Obamacare so the wood burning criminals can be punished. I guess in times like this they want us to burn coal or tires in the fireplace
Stoked December 13, 2013 at 10:41 PM
In this day and age, how barbaric is it to actually burn wood in a box inside your house? it pollutes, it adds CO2 to the atmosphere and it doesn't fare too well on your lungs. BTW 90% of that heat you create when burning wood goes right up the chimney. But if it makes you remember times of old and you love that smokey aroma added to your clothes and home, go ahead, it's your right.
Lenny Shaw December 13, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Hellwood, can you at least try to be intelligent in your comments? Obamacare has nothing to do with the environment… And if it were not for *some* government, you would not have a road to get to the beach, or clean water to surf in,… Or lifeguards to reuse you... God Forbid…. But hey, I guess hyper libertarians don't have lungs like the rest of us…. But I will stop now… I know how it is with your kind… Keep it LOUD and SIMPLE…. THAT makes it RIGHT!!!!!!
hellwood December 13, 2013 at 11:53 PM
apparently nobody here has a sense of humor. almost 70% of our power in america comes from fossil fuels. burning coal is almost 40%. I'm not saying I am proud of it, and Lenny...making it illegal for people to burn wood to keep their families warm is no different than saying we have the freedom to choose between freezing or being criminals for not being customers of gas/power companies. Obamacare may be another topic, but there will be a lot of "criminals" without health insurance that will be freezing their asses off tonight if they don't light a fire.


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