Most of December and January have declared no burn days in the San Joaquin Valley because of concern from wood smoke.
Now, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution District, which stretches from Stockton to Bakersfield, is offering rebates to homeowners who switch from wood to natural gas.
Anthony Presto of the Pollution Control District, which has strict limitations on wood burning, says gas is the ideal alternative to wood. He says, with gas, residents won't have to worry about whether or not it's a no burn day.
"Natural gas is the cleanest and most efficient way to heat your home," he says.
Wood burning is the chief source of air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley in the winter.
Valley wide it can create as much as 17 tons per day of airborne particles. Presto says this year has been particularly bad because of the dry conditions.
"Rain and wind are what cleans the valley's air, this is so far this season is the worst we've seen," Presto says.
Low-income applicants can receive rebates up to $1,500 for converting to natural gas.
A movement around the U.S. encourages people to skip the shopping malls Friday and spend time in nature. Some national parks and state parks in California are waiving entry fees.
The 19th annual Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival this weekend is expected to bring thousands of visitors to see the stately birds.
The Pacific Storm system brought some slight improvement to drought conditions in California and Nevada last week.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing more than $30 million to California and Nevada native tribes for water quality and environmental restoration projects.
A program will begin soon in the Eldorado National Forest to remove live or dead vegetation to prevent the spread of wildfires.