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PHOENIX -- A small team of inspectors is driving around Maricopa County neighborhoods, looking for any residents violating a ban on burning wood.

While gathering around a fire on Christmas has become a mainstay for many, concerns over pollution have prompted environmental regulators to bar people in the county from burning wood on Wednesday.

First-time violators will receive a warning. Repeat offenders can face fines as much as $250 per violation.

Maricopa County Air Quality Department spokesman Bob Huhn says environmental regulators understand that they are asking some people to crimp their holiday traditions, but said the quality of air that's breathed by people in the county is the overriding concern.

Regulators have issued a high pollution advisory for Christmas day.

Associated Press,

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