No-Burn Days Go Unenforced in Maricopa County for Christmas; Zero Warnings and Citations Issued

Categories: Green Fatigue


yule log 1.jpg
Image: Wikimedia Commons
​Nobody can label the folks over at Maricopa County's Air Quality Department a bunch of Scrooges.

After a warning last week that no-burn days on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day would be enforced, exactly zero warnings and citations were issued, a county official says.

Oddly, all this non-enforcement happened despite the efforts of teams of inspectors. The county dispatched four inspectors and a supervisor on Friday and five inspectors and a supervisor on Saturday to look for violations.

You'd think even Inspector Clouseau could handle the job: You just look for smoke coming out of chimneys.

But from the sound of it, these crack teams from the county only added to the pollution problem by driving all over the Valley, doing nothing.


brown cloud 2.jpg
Image: Ray Stern
The Valley's air wasn't nearly as bad last weekend as it was in December of 2008, when we took this shot, but authorities say particulate pollution spiked on Friday and Saturday.
​Cari Gerchick, a county spokeswoman, says she received the stats from the supervisor of the county's air quality unit.

She also reports that 29 complaints about possible no-burn violations were received on December 24th and 25th, and that the teams responded to 14 of those. Gerchick says the teams merely passed out fliers in neighborhoods and didn't knock on the doors of any suspected violators.

Meanwhile, levels of particulate-related air pollution soared on Friday and Saturday.

True, the county's in a bad spot on this issue. The other extreme would be to have Nazi-like county inspectors dragging Christmas celebrators from their home because of burning Yule logs.

To all the people who kept their fireplaces cold over the Christmas holiday, without any need for citations or threats -- thanks for keeping the air slightly less chunky. 


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Isn't it curious, for the last several years there has been a no burn issued on Christmas. I live with a clear view of the mountains on bad days they are clearly hazy. Was that the case this Christmas? Absolutely not had several windy days and it was crystal clear. And how many cars where on the road? 10% maybe? I think it's all BS! Bunch of Scrooges! And before you all jump me as a someone that does not care about the environment. That could not be further from the truth.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Mr. Stern, it appears you have at least one fan who doesn't agree regarding the need for no-burn enforcement.

Curious, gas fireplaces are ok to burn. Any other fuel, such as the 'fake' logs and any other wood product are NOT ok to burn.

I moved here from Colorado and when living there I thought Colorado was lagging behind. By comparison, however, it seems we are still piping sunshine to Arizona. Two significant life environment issues seem to be ignored. The first, and perhaps most important, is the lack of water rationing. I can't believe the free use of water in a state that is so hot and dry, with very little water resources of it's own.

The second, is environmental pollution. In Colorado during no-burn days, if you're showing smoke you will likely be visited by code enforcement officers and action will be taken, providing wood heating is not the primary source of heat for your domicile.

Now, FuckRay, you can add me to your list.

At least I have the intestinal fortitude to post under my real name, and now behind the curtain of anonymity as you do.


Fuck off Ray. Another job in government that needs to be cut, fire-ban inspector Nazis. ITs fucking winter you douchbag, fire keeps the readers warm, and a place to burn your fucking fishwrap comical free kindling.

We gather wood in the summer, ready for a winter burn every year. Ray, go stroke that skinny dick of yours.


On the no burn days, does that include the "fake" logs? I've never been really clear about that. I kept my fireplace dark and cold for Christmas which sucked but you've gotta do what you've gotta do!


With you on your comments regarding the previous poster. Re: water use, the region has actually made great strides without mandatory rationing or "Nazi water police." Through education and regulation of new development, average water use in Phoenix has fallen by half over the last 20 years; i.e., while our population has doubled in 20 years, total water use has stayed almost exactly the same. The same could be done with air quality. BTW, always appreciate your civil postings on controversial topics.

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