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SJ Valley Gets Tougher Air Quality Rule

San Joaquin Valley residents will be prohibited from burning wood on bad air days starting this winter. The San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District board approved a rule yesterday that bans wood-burning when the air is unhealthy.

Air district spokeswoman Josette Merced Bello says starting this winter, Central Valley residents will be prohibited from burning wood when the air is unhealthy. Some people won´t have to follow the new regulations: those who live above three-thousand feet, and those who rely on wood for heat.

Merced Bello says people will be notified if it´s a bad air day through the media or the valley´s Web site. The valley is among the worst places in the nation for fine particle pollution and soot.

State estimates show residential wood-burning can account for 20 percent or more of the particle pollution in Fresno and Bakersfield.