Burn ban in effect for Maricopa County on Christmas Day

PHOENIX - For many people in the Valley, it's a holiday tradition to sit around the fireplace and open presents.

But this year in Maricopa County, you'll have to do without the actual fire in the fireplace.

For the fifth consecutive day, a no burn day will be in effect on Christmas Day.

According to the Maricopa County Air Quality Department, the biggest culprit for the poor air quality is wintertime fireplace smoke.

Therefore, any wood burning be it in a fireplace, stove, chiminea or fire pit is prohibited while the burn ban is in place.

To enforce the ban, workers from the Air Quality Department will be out and about over the holidays looking for signs of people burning, such as smoke coming from a chimney or wafting from a backyard fire pit.

"We know how nice a cozy fire is," said spokesman Bob Huhn. "But the overall picture is to help those residents who have health issues."

There are exemptions to the ban including if a wood burning fireplace is the only way to heat your home or if a wood burning stove is your only way to cook food.

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