We have two different air quality seasons in the Truckee Meadows, and winter is one of them. Burning, including using firewood, accounts for at least half of the pollution we breathe during the wintertime. 

"During the winter time we can't do anything about the weather, but we can do something about emissions. So following the burn code is the best thing you can do during the winter time," said Daniel Inouye of Air Quality Management. 

There are three different codes the county will issue, green, yellow, and red. Green means it's okay to burn, yellow is voluntary to not burn, and red means it's not allowed. 

"It all depends on the weather. If we have an active weather pattern, then that helps clean out the air, and the pollution does not get trapped in the valley," said Inouye.

Our air quality tends to get worse when an inversion sets up because all of the pollution gets trapped in the valley. An inversion is a warm layer of air aloft and acts like a lid on the atmosphere. 

When an inversion sets up, driving less can help. Emissions from cars and trucks account for the other half of pollution we breathe during the wintertime. 

Right now our bus system, RTC, gives out about 22,000 rides per day, but they would like that number to grow.

"So we want to encourage folks to use public transportation. Use alternative modes of transportation like using transit or walking and bicycling as well," said Michael Moreno of RTC. 

RTC has about 75 different buses and about 26 different routes to chose from. If more people rode the bus, that would mean less cars on the road and less pollution. Electric buses are more environmentally friendly as well.  

"We have an expanding electric bus system program. We currently have four electric buses which are zero emissions in our fleet and we're going to be receiving more buses in the upcoming months. Up to 17 new electric buses" said Moreno. 

You can find the burn code on each of our newscasts during weather.