Phoenix-area air-quality officials are prohibiting the burning of wood in residential fireplaces, outdoor fire pits and chimineas through Tuesday due to high levels of soot in the air.
Maricopa County on Friday declared the "no burn day" restrictions for the next three days as the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issued a high pollution advisory for fine particular matter levels expected to exceed the federal health standard. Monday night, that restriction was extended until at least Tuesday.
The restriction will end at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday.
Bob Huhn of the county air quality department says New Year's Day could see air quality reach a "very unhealthy category." The reasons pollution levels are expected to be higher are because of the holiday season. According to Huhn, there has been no wind to clear out smoke still lingering from fires lit during the Christmas holidays. Also, fireworks to ring in the new year can contribute to pollution.
Health officials are advising employers to activate plans to reduce travel and for the general public to limit outdoor activity and drive as little as possible.
Officials say people with heart or lung diseases, older adults and children are most likely to be affected by particle pollution.
County air quality inspectors were out Jan. 1 enforcing the burn ban.
If you have a complaint about air quality or would like to report a violation of the burn ban in your neighborhood the number to call is 602-372-2703.