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SLO County air quality officials enforce “no burn” rule throughout the week

Felton Davis/Flickr

Today is a "no burn day” in San Luis Obispo County. Local air quality officials have been enforcing the rule all week to prevent air pollution.

No burn days ban prescribed fires and burning green waste.

Karl Tupper, with the SLO County Air Pollution Control District, explained the rule started on Monday after weekend rains caused unsafe burning conditions.

“When the material is wet, it doesn't burn as well, and it creates a lot more smoke than if it was dry,” Tupper said.

County and state officials assess burn safety based on weather and wind conditions that can trap smoke and affect air quality.

“We are in this waiting period, trying to allow burn piles to dry out, so that they can burn more cleanly,” Tupper said.

Officials advise residents with backyard or agricultural burn permits to wait for approved burn days.

“A burn day has to be when good dispersion is forecast,” Tupper said. “What that means is that the atmosphere conditions are such that smoke is going to rise straight up and then get blown out by winds.”

You can check the current burn day status at slocleanair.org.

Officials also suggest using composting as an alternative method for getting rid of green waste.

KCBX Reporter Amanda Wernik graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a BS in Journalism. Amanda is currently a fellow with the USC Center for Health Journalism, completing a data fellowship that will result in a news feature series to air on KCBX in the winter of 2024.
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