- Associated Press - Friday, January 9, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Salt Lake County health officials are banning wood burning on certain days in an effort to improve air quality.

The county’s health department announced Thursday that people could get fines of up to $299 a day for burning solid fuels on designated days when whether conditions trap soot in Utah’s bowl-shaped valleys.

Authorities plan to focus on education rather than enforcement this year and save the highest fines for the worst offenders. Houses where a wood-burning stove is the sole source of heat will be exempt and wood burning will be allowed in emergencies.

Health officials say banning wood burning has a disproportionate effect on the county’s air quality because wood smoke contains tiny particles that enter the bloodstream and cause breathing and heart problems.

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