For Immediate Release
Contact: Phil Ulibarri
775.328.2414 or 775.772.1659
RENO, NV – Beginning November 1, and continuing through February 28, the Washoe County Health District Air Quality Management Division (AQMD) uses Keep It Clean – Know the Code, a color-coded notification program using Green, Yellow, and Red Burn Code icons to inform residents whether lighting stoves or fireplaces is advisable, or allowed. The Know the Code Program applies to residents in southern Washoe County from Washoe Valley to Silver Knolls. To find the current Know the Code Burn Code status, residents in these areas can go online to www.OurCleanAir.com, follow AQMD on Twitter or Facebook, subscribe to www.EnviroFlash.info, monitor local television and radio weather forecasts, or call (775) 785-4110. Know the Code Burn Code will be updated daily by 3 p.m., or earlier if air quality conditions change.
According to health officials, when residents follow the recommendations of the Burn Code there are significant improvements in air quality. During the 2015/2016 Know the Code Program, AQMD notified Washoe County residents of eight Yellow and only two Red burn codes. “In general, air quality is much improved when people slow down or stop burning,” said Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick. “We need to be conscientious about our air quality, especially during the colder months because nearly 50 percent of our local wintertime air pollution is due to fine particulate matter produced by wood burning in the Truckee Meadows. That pollution ends up in our lungs and can pass into our blood system, causing both respiratory and cardiovascular health problems,” Dick said.
The code addresses all solid fuels including wood, pellets, and fire logs. Burning coal and garbage is prohibited. The Burn Code provides the following information:
Green - When the Air Quality Index (AQI) is in the Good or low Moderate range, the Burn Code is Green and that means it is okay to light a fire in your stove or fireplace.
Yellow - When the AQI reaches the upper end of the Moderate range, or if weather conditions exist that are expected to lead to deteriorating air quality, the Burn Code switches to Yellow. This is a voluntary stage when citizens are requested to stop burning.
Red - When the AQI gets into the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range, all residential and commercial burning must stop immediately. If weather forecasts show little chance of the temperature inversion lifting, the District Health Officer will call a Stage 1 Episode prohibiting burning for 24 hours, or until air quality conditions improve.
For more information on the Keep it Clean - Know the Code Program such as how the Burn Code is enforced, exemptions to the Burn Code, and a map of ZIP codes within the Burn Code area, visit the AQMD website at www.OurCleanAir.com.