For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Oxarart
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 (AQM) 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 burn code status, residents in these areas can go online to www.OurCleanAir.com, follow AQM on Twitter or Facebook, subscribe to www.EnviroFlash.info, monitor local television and radio weather forecasts, or call (775) 785-4110. The 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 2017/18 Know the Code program, AQM notified Washoe County residents of one Red, 16 Yellow, and 103 Green Burn Code days. "During the wood burning season air quality is improved when people follow our recommendations and slow down or stop burning," said Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick. "Everyone in the community needs to be conscientious about our air quality during the colder months because nearly half of our local wintertime air pollution is due to 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 burning must stop immediately. If weather forecasts show little chance of the temperature inversion lifting, the District Health Officer will call a Red Burn Code 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 AQM website at www.OurCleanAir.com.
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