Arizona Winter Air Quality Pilot Program Offers Free Wood Burning Fireplace Retrofits

By  Casey Kuhn
Published: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 - 7:10am

It’s nearly winter in the Valley and that means hot chocolate by the fireplace. But this year local environmental quality officials are trying a program to reduce that firewood smoke, which can create heavy pollution across Maricopa County.

The program offers free air pollution reduction devices or retrofitting a wood burning fireplace with a natural gas, set at no cost.

University of Arizona public health expert Will Humble helped kick off the campaign today and said by burning less, residents can protect those with poor health.

“And when you have particulate matter or the things that come out of woodsmoke in your neighborhood, it affects your neighbors that have health problems,” Humble said.

The ultimate goal is to lower the amount of no-burn days, when air quality becomes so poor, residents are ordered not to burn any wood at all. Last year there were tjree no-burn days, an unusually small amount according to officials.

This is the first year for the fireplace retrofit program, and those who live in western and downtown Phoenix can get more information on the program at Maricopa County Air Quality Department's website or call 602-372-9663.

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