No-burn order in effect across Southland until Wednesday

ORANGE, Calif.

Stagnant air, high smog levels and concerns that wood smoke will add even more contaminants to the air have led to the South Coast Air Quality Management District to order a "no burn day" starting late Monday at midnight.

The ban is welcomed by firefighters, who are also dealing with extremely dry conditions. A brush fire broke out in Irwindale on Monday afternoon.

"A fire could get going and rapidly increase up hills, threatening homes, plus it's unsafe to breathe. As we get into fires, when we have vegetation fires, older people and people that have asthma are susceptible to respiratory problems. They have a difficult time breathing. That can lead to a hospital visit," said Orange County Fire Authority Captain Steve Concialdi.

The AQMD says the ban means no burning wood or manufactured logs in Los Angeles and Orange counties as well as much of the Inland Empire for 24 hours.

The order is not going over well with some.

"I'm kind of a fire girl," said Orange resident Crystal Husband. "It's the season, and the smog's been here for how long? I just don't quite get the point of 24 hours making a difference."

At California Smoqued BBQ in Orange, word of the ban brought panic at first. The restaurant is preparing for a New Year's Eve private party, until they found out they're exempt from the ban.

"Thank God, because we were smoking all night tonight," said Mike Hernandez, owner of the restaurant. "We're fortunate. We count on this long-night smoke to feed everybody tomorrow for New Year's Eve."

Other exceptions are allowed for low-income people: Those who rely on wood as their only source of heat are allowed to burn wood in their fireplace.

Other exemptions: If you live in the Coachella Valley or if you live above the 3,000-foot elevation, the ban does not apply.

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