Yesterday, the Valley Air District Governing Board unanimously approved enhancements to the Residential Wood Smoke Reduction Program by increasing the dollar amount available to Valley residents willing to replace their fireplace or wood burning device with an electric or gas device. The grant program includes additional incentive amounts for low-income applicants and residents in the Hot-Spot counties of Fresno, Madera and the Valley Air District portion of Kern.
The new incentive levels, which can total up to $5,000 for an electric heat pump, are:
“I think this is a great approach”, stated Governing Board Member and Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes. “When a program slows down we need to add incentives to jump start it to get it going again.”
As part of the comprehensive Residential Wood Smoke Reduction Strategy, the District urges all Valley residents to help reduce harmful PM2.5 emissions and heat their homes by means other than burning wood whenever possible. Residential wood burning is one of the Valley’s largest sources of wintertime PM2.5 emissions and is shown to have a direct effect on neighborhood air quality.
“During the winter, residential woodsmoke is a leading contributor to public health impacts in neighborhoods where we live, work, and play,” said District Executive Director and Air Pollution Control Officer, Samir Sheikh. “Choosing to replace or remove wood burning fireplaces this winter is an important part of our collective efforts to reduce air pollution and improve quality of life in our communities. We’re excited to now offer increased funding assistance to our residents, with the highest funding going to residents converting to electric heat pumps for home heating”
The winter season Residential Wood Smoke Reduction program runs from November 1 through the end of February every year, reducing PM2.5 emissions from wood burning devices such as fireplaces, wood stoves, outdoor fire pits and chimeneas. During that time, the District releases a daily, county-by-county wood burning declaration based on the air quality forecast and significantly restricts residential wood burning during the winter. Burning trash or yard refuse is always prohibited.
To participate in this program, please visit www.valleyair.org/burncleaner call 559-230-5800.
The Valley Air District covers eight counties including San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and San Joaquin Valley air basin portions of Kern. For additional information about the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, visit www.valleyair.org or call 559-230-6000.