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This issue of Air Aware includes stories on wood burning and more.
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What to know if you’re burning wood this winter


November kicks off the start of the Don’t Light Tonight season. From November through February, residents are asked to refrain from burning wood on certain days. 
 
During the colder months, local particulate pollution levels rise due to increasing burning and weather patterns. Yolo-Solano AQMD monitors and forecasts air pollution levels. If a forecast indicates poorer air quality is likely, the District issues a Don’t Light Tonight advisory asking residents to not burn wood during this time. 
 
Although Don’t Light Tonight advisories are voluntary, residents are encouraged to comply because of wood smoke’s serious impacts on health. High concentrations of particulate pollution is especially dangerous for sensitive groups such as young children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with asthma or other respiratory ailments.
 
Weather conditions can contribute to poor smoke dispersion and higher ground-level pollution concentrations.  In our region, there is typically poorer air quality in the winter when there are dry, cold spells with little wind plus overnight temperature inversions.  Inversions happen when the ground-level temperatures are lower than upper atmospheric temperatures.  This causes the air to get trapped at ground level and causes smoke and other pollution to linger much longer. 
 
Heeding the Don’t Light Tonight advisories helps reduce soot levels and protect the public’s health.  Residents can sign up for EnviroFlash, which sends you an e-mail or text message alert when a Don’t Light Tonight advisory has been called.  Residents can also call the Don’t Light Tonight hotline at (530) 757-3787 to find out if an advisory is in effect.
 
Further information on the health impacts of wood smoke and fine particulate pollution can also be found at www.ysaqmd.org/wood.

Air quality healthy in Yolo-Solano for most of smog season


The 2016 peak ozone season has ended and Yolo-Solano experienced healthy air quality on most days.
 
Data from the District’s air quality monitors indicates that air pollution levels were in the good range of the Air Quality Index (AQI) on 118 days, in the moderate range on 42 days and in the unhealthy for sensitive groups range on four days. Both the good and moderate ranges meet federal health standards. 
 
This season, the Sacramento region has increased the number of Spare the Air Days, but not because the air quality has gotten worst.  Last winter, a new ozone standard was adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  As a result, the AQI shifted to account for a more protective standard. This led to a higher AQI on many days with identical air pollution concentrations as from prior years.
 
The main pollutant during the summer is ground-level ozone, of which 70 percent of the components come from car and trucks emissions.  On warm summer days, the sun turns nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in the air into ozone. Ozone typically reaches its highest levels during the afternoon and early evening. Ozone is invisible and odorless to us but can cause constriction of the airways which leads to breathing problems and can be dangerous for sensitive groups. 
 
The Spare the Air program runs from May to October. Advisories are called when the Air Quality Index is forecast to exceed 126.  When a Spare the Air Day is called to help reduce summer ozone, residents are asked to find alternatives to driving such as walking, biking, or carpooling.

State commits to fund clean fleets in underprivileged communities


The California Air Resources Board recently approved a $363 million plan to put more clean vehicles in underprivileged communities. The vehicles include zero-emission heavy-duty trucks and buses as well as low- and zero-emission passenger vehicles. 
 
The investment from the cap-and-trade program for the low-carbon transportation projects will help provide new technologies and put more clean vehicles and zero-emission trucks into the communities throughout California that need them the most. 
 
The funding will go toward the Clean Vehicle Rebate project which will help underprivileged residents get vehicle rebates for the purchase or lease of new, eligible zero-emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles.  A portion of the funds will also go toward light-duty vehicle pilot projects and range of heavy-duty vehicle and off-road equipment projects. This will help provide advanced technology demonstration projects and provide zero-emission buses for transit agencies and rural school districts.
 
These investments in disadvantaged communities are made to help lower income residents who are affected most by pollution in California be able to afford the cleanest cars.  It will also fund the scrap-and-replace projects in which older and dirtier cars can be replaced with the cleanest cars that are currently available.  The funding for light-duty equity pilot projects will fund lower-income consumers looking to get clean vehicles to help get vanpools for agricultural workers. 
 
To make clean vehicles available to a greater number of California drivers, the rebate project will increase incentive levels for lower-income consumers by $500 and reduce high-income eligibility caps in the designated areas, including Solano County.
Copyright © 2016 Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District, All rights reserved.


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