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The air quality in Phoenix is bad thanks to fireplaces and fireworks

Metro Phoenix is kicking off 2024 with an air quality advisory.

Smoke from fireplaces and overnight fireworks has created very poor air quality across the Valley on Monday.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality meteorologist Matt Pace says it follows a very smoky Dec. 25.

"For the holidays when we had Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it was actually our second-worst Christmas Day on record," Pace said.

He also says the good news is emission pollution, like smoke, has been trending down in the state since the 1990s. And in 2023, with fewer wildfires, smoke didn’t get as bad as some recent years. But advisories, especially in the holiday season, should be expected.

"So a lot of people think that we always issue on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day, but it is really the time when you see an influx at 2.5, which is the smoke levels from fireworks, from fireplaces, from fire pits. And then inversion is so strong in the Valley that it all gets trapped right near the surface," Pace said.

In the last decade in Phoenix, there have only been three New Year Days where smoke levels haven’t exceeded the health standard.

It’s also a no-burn day in Maricopa County, which means it’s actually prohibited to burn wood.

A screen shot of the air quality index map
A screen shot of the air quality index map in metro Phoenix on Jan. 1. 2024.

Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.