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SALT LAKE CITY — Increased fines for wood-burning violations and enhanced monitoring mark the advent of November as Utah air quality regulators ask people to tamp down emissions to help ward off wintertime inversions.
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality is urging residents to check conditions online at air.utah.gov or download the phone app, UtahAir, to check for mobile alerts available for both Android and iOS users.
“The UtahAir app is our most popular tool because Utahns can quickly click on the information they need at any time and anywhere,” said Bryce Bird, director of the Utah Division of Air Quality. “This is important information people can access in order to make daily decisions that will improve air quality during the upcoming winter inversion season.”
The agency is reminding residents that fines for burning wood or other solid fuel devices on mandatory action days have increased to $150 for the first violation of the burning restrictions and additional violations will be subject to increased penalties.
Salt Lake County, too, has implemented mandatory burn restrictions on days when the state calls for voluntary action.
The alerts are denoted by three symbols which detail unrestricted, voluntary and mandatory actions.
Unrestricted is a circle, which means wood- and coal-burning stoves or fireplaces may be used.
Voluntary action is characterized by an inverted triangle, which means residents should voluntarily refrain from using wood- and coal-burning stoves or fireplaces. Vehicle use should also be voluntarily curtailed by consolidating trips and industry should optimize operating conditions to minimize air pollution emissions.
On mandatory action days, denoted by an X, use of wood- and coal-burning stoves or fireplaces is prohibited. People should reduce vehicle trips and industry should optimize operating conditions to minimize air pollution emissions.
When mandatory restrictions are in place the use of solid fuel appliances may result in penalties ranging up to $299 per day. If violations of the burning restrictions are observed by the public, they should be reported to the division by calling 801-536-4000 during business hours or by filling out a simple form online.