North Pole sees first Stage 2 air quality alert under new system

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - As cold weather causes a temperature inversion, the North Pole area is experiencing its first Stage 2 burn ban under a new, stricter air alert system.
This is the first winter that the two-stage alert system has been in effect.
Under a stage one alert, which Fairbanks is now experiencing, residents with one of two different forms of waivers to air quality regulations can continue to burn wood or coal.
North Pole is under a Stage 2 alert, during which people can only continue burning if they have a waiver certifying they have no other adequate source of heat for their home.
The alerts are triggered by unsafe levels of P-M 2.5 particulate pollution in the air - a problem that gets much worse when the area is undergoing an inversion, which holds dirty air close to the ground.