Residents in much of the South Coast Air Quality Management District are prohibited from indoor and outdoor wood burning on Christmas Day due to a forecast of high air pollution in the area. 

The mandatory wood-burning ban is in effect through 11:59 p.m. Friday for all those in the South Coast Air Basin, including Orange County and non- desert portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. 

The order does not apply to mountain communities above 3,000 feet in elevation, the Coachella Valley or the high desert. 

Fine particles in wood smoke, also known as particulate matter or PM2.5, can get deep into the lungs and cause respiratory problems such as asthma. 

Penalties for violating a wood-burning ban are completion of a wood smoke awareness course or $50 the first time, $150 or proof of installing a gas fireplace the second time and $500 the third time, according to AQMD Rule 445.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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