November first marks the beginning of wood burning regulations. The red, yellow and green codes tell you if it's ok or not ok to light your fireplace, wood burning stove or pellet stove.
Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick said the smoke from fire places can contribute to air pollution in northern Nevada. He said, "The smoke contains small particulates that end up in your lungs and can pass into your blood system contributing to respiratory and cardiovascular health problems."
The winter month weather can also contribute to air quality issues. Dick said, "During the winter months we have periods where we have inversions that trap the air close to the ground. That's when burning fireplaces and wood stoves can really contribute a lot to air pollution problems."
The code is very simple. It works like a stop light. Green means "go" in that it is safe to burn because the Air Quality Index is in the good to low Moderate range. Yellow means "caution" as the Air Quality Index has reached the Moderate range. When the code is Yellow, wood burning is voluntary. Dick said, "Curtailing wood burning at this point may be the most important action one can take to help our community avoid reaching unhealthful levels of air pollution." When the code is red, all residential and commercial burning must stop.
The wood burning codes are changed twice at day at 9 AM and 5 PM or when the air quaility changes. To find out what the code is you can visit ourcleanair.com or call the 24-hour hotline at 775-785-4110.
The News 4 weather team, Brandon Wholey and Tim Studebaker are also a great resource. They will include the wood burning code as well as the Air Quality Index in their weather forecasts.