Utah Department of Environmental Quality releases ‘burning rules’ for inversion season

SALT LAKE CITY — Winter inversion season is coming, which means burning rules went into affect Thursday.

"The University of Utah did a study that suggested that the particulate pollution that comes from wood-burning; it’s actually more impactful than previously thought," said Donna Kemp Spangler, communications director for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

DEQ said wood burning makes up about six percent of particulate pollution in the air, along with emission from cars and area sources such as businesses.

"It's great to have a great fire, but you know, everybody's got to help," said Utah resident Brad Knight.

DEQ said they’ve increased the fine for wood-burning violations from $25 to $150 in hopes of getting the message across.

"We decided that our fines in previous years were too low and not really an incentive for people," Spangler said.

If you're not sure when you can burn, an app titled UtahAir shows a three day air quality forecast. They use a circle for unrestricted, a triangle for voluntary, and an x represents a no burn period.

Only 10 warnings were handed out last year, but DEQ hopes people will catch on, choosing to make the beehive state a place to live for everyone.

"We love Utah because it’s beautiful. We love to go skiing and being outdoors," Sangler said. "But we don’t want the air-quality to be poor."

You can check out current air conditions on the DEQ's website.