Red Burn Code Remains in Effect - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Red Burn Code Remains in Effect

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The air pollution is still too high for burning wood, meaning a red burn code will stay in place.

The hazy skies are going to stick around until we get some wind to blow it out of the valley.

Ashley McLaughlin's family uses a fireplace because it heats their Old Southwest Reno home and because they like having a fire burning during these cold months. 

"Sometimes, it can be frustrating because, of course, we have to spend more money for heating," McLaughlin said. "Otherwise, most of the time, it's just because we like to have a fire and it's nice and relaxing."

Air pollution levels in the Truckee Meadows have reached the federal standards for poor air quality.

Cold temperatures and lack of wind are to blame, keeping any pollution, generated in the Reno-Sparks area, bottled up.

"Wind can be kind of a nuisance," Dan Inouye, Branch Chief for the Air Quality Management Division said. "But from an air pollution point of view, especially in the wintertime, it helps clean out the valley from the air pollution."

The amount of fine particulates in the air are at the same level as they were back in August, when smoke from the American Fire blew into the Truckee Meadows.

"It's very visually dirty, but we also have the air monitoring data that validates that, also," Inouye said.

While the air is at an unhealthy level, the people affected most are the young, old, and those with respiratory and heart illnesses.

"A lot of it comes from wood-burning, like fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves," Inouye said. "But also, it can also come from automobiles. Either the tailpipe or from road dust from the sand that's on the road."

Anyone caught violating the red burn code will receive a warning.

Repeat offenders could face fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

That has some residents hoping for the wind to blow the bad air out and allow them to use their fireplaces again.

"That would be awesome," McLaughlin said. "We would all be really excited. Especially, my mom. She's the one who loves the fire the most."

For the latest burn code status in your zip code, you can call the 24-hour air quality hotline at 785-4110.

Air Quality Management says we could see plenty more red burn codes, since we still have a couple months of cold weather to go.

Written by Paul Nelson 
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