Release 97-01

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         CONTACT:    Daven Oswalt
January 9, 1997                                                                                        Jerry Martin/Allan Hirsch
                                                                                                                 Richard Varenchik
                                                                                                                 (916) 322-2990
                                                                                                                 www.arb.ca.gov

ARB Aids Flood Victims: Temporarily Relieves Burn Limits

        Responding to the increasing hardship on California growers from the recent series of winter storms, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) today issued an executive order increasing opportunities to burn flood debris.

        This action came in the wake of 42 California counties and one city (Morgan Hill) being declared by Governor Pete Wilson to be in a state of emergency as a result of the recent storms. In some areas, large piles of wood, trees, vegetable matter and other debris have been left behind by receding flood waters.

        "This emergency action temporarily modifies current restrictions on open-air burning to allow more flexibility in disposal of some flood debris," said John Dunlap, ARB Chairman.

        The increases in agricultural burning will be restricted to wood, plant matter and other non-toxic, non-hazardous debris. All burning under this order must be carried out in accordance with ARB guidelines and local air district rules and regulations.

        Under normal conditions, the ARB uses atmospheric and meteorological data to advise air districts on the timing and amounts of acreage that may be burned without risking smoke incidences in populated areas. To assure the protection of public health, the ARB will use the same analyses during this emergency.

        "The ARB will carefully monitor data on wind direction and speed to assure that public health is not threatened by increased exposure to smoke from any additional agricultural burning," Dunlap added.

        Further information on burning guidelines can be obtained by contacting the Communications Office of the Air Resources Board (916) 322-2990.

        The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

# # # # #