- Associated Press - Thursday, December 24, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - For the first time in seven years, people in metro Phoenix are expected to be able to legally use their wood-burning fireplaces on Christmas day.

Still, authorities say it’s possible that wood-burning fires could be banned Friday if winds aren’t strong enough to break up pollution that hangs over Maricopa County.

Restrictions have been imposed on every Christmas day since 2008 after stagnant air and winter inversions trapped pollution close to the ground.

Smoke and soot from wood-burning pose risks to people with asthma and other respiratory ailments.

Past restrictions have included bans on burning wood in fireplaces, fire pits and other patio products, though gas and electric heaters were allowed.

Inspectors are sent into neighborhoods to find violators when bans are in effect, though some residents ignore the restrictions.


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