Burning row of matches isolated black

December 18, 2015

AZ Business Magazine

ADEQ kicks off 2015 ‘No Burn’ campaign

Officials from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and the Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) announced the kickoff of their annual Maricopa County ‘No Burn’ campaign.

Smoke from wood-burning fireplaces and chimineas during winter months poses a serious health threat to children with asthma, the elderly and those with respiratory issues. Smoke, which contains soot particles, can be absorbed into the blood stream and lessen lung function, exacerbate bronchitis and asthma and increase chances for heart attacks and premature death.

Left uncorrected, high levels of Particulate Matter-2.5 (PM 2.5) from smoke could cause Maricopa County to exceed the federal health standards, leading to more burdensome and costly federal regulation.

This is the third year of the ‘No Burn’ campaign and this past winter season was its most successful. For the first time in 11 years, Maricopa County residents benefited from no exceedances of the state and federal annual 24-hour health standard for PM 2.5, on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Maricopa County also met the annual federal health standard for PM 2.5.

“We want to thank the residents of Maricopa County for supporting last year’s ‘No Burn’ campaign, which allowed everyone to enjoy cleaner air,” Maricopa County Air Quality Director Philip McNeely said. “We must remain vigilante, however, because without voluntary compliance, there could be stricter regulations and stronger fines.”

This season, ADEQ and MCAQD are joined by nearly 100 partners and stakeholders including several cities, towns and county agencies, Bashas’ Family of Stores, Arizona Rock Products Association, and the Arizona Chapter Associated General Contractors, all involved since the very beginning. This year, several new partners including the Arizona Association of Community Managers, the Better Business Bureau, Tonto National Forrest, and Lyft also are contributing to this worthy cause.

ADEQ Air Quality Division Director Eric Massey said, “Building on last year’s successful ‘No Burn” campaign, the focus for 2015 is strengthening and expanding our partners and leveraging technology to reach more Maricopa County residents than ever before using innovative and cost-effective ways.”

MCAQD issues no burn days throughout the winter season and asks county residents to refrain from lighting wood-burning fires on those designated days.