My how time flies. This is the fourth year of the ''Check Before You Burn" program under the Healthy Hearths initiative and AQMD's Rule 445. Ah yes rule 445. Are we up to 445 rules already?
The AQMD stands for Air Quality Management District, the folks that are responsible for cleaning up our air and keeping our lungs healthy. Noble goals. Now they are targeting both wood burning fires and fires using artificial logs, implementing what they call a ''no burn day'' based on predictions of potentially high levels of particulates in the air.If you're not sure if you live in the ''no burn '' area, you can go to the AQMD' website (http://www.aqmd.gov/) input your zip code, and you can find out. It doesn't apply if you're ''low income'' (not clear what that means,) if you have no natural gas, if a wood heated stove is your only source of heat, or if you live about 3000 feet like Big Bear, where it might be 12 degrees tonight). One thing that made this story particularly fun for me was meeting the folks at Mike's Firewood Sales in Burbank and learning a bit about the many varieties of wood you can buy to burn in your fireplace or cook with in your restaurant. As you might imaging, the wood lovers there weren't real thrilled with '' government'' sticking their noses into our fireplaces, even if the idea is to keep us healthy. (p.s. it may not surprise you to know that there aren't really ''fireplace police'' out there, though if someone does call in a complaint and a violation is documented by an AQMD inspector, you can be fined and required to complete a fire education course.)