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New superhero aims to protect Arizona air quality

PHOENIX -- Arizona has a new superhero out protecting the state's air quality, and he's looking for help from Valley residents.

The Superman-esque "No Burn Man" is cloaked in a blue jumpsuit and red cape and boots and is out to raise awareness about no burn days, according to Mark Shaffer with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

"(We're) trying to make people aware of the problems that we've had with the inversion," said Shaffer.

Inversion commonly occurs in the winter and is when a layer of stagnant warm air traps a layer of cold air beneath it. If Valley residents use fireplaces or fire pits during that time, smoke can get trapped in the lower layer and cause severe air quality problems, Shaffer said.

As the department begins using its new superhero to encourage people not to burn things during no burn days, Shaffer said they're looking to get the public involved with a video contest.

"We're asking people to submit entries of either 15 or 30 seconds long and the cut-off deadline for submission is Sept. 15," he said. "We're encouraging clever ideas that they can encapsulate in a short video form, that illustrate the problem, tell people what they shouldn't do and then the cleverer the better."

The department will review all the video submissions and pick a winner on Oct. 15. Shaffer said the winning video will be promoted by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality online and through social media.

To see more entry information and list of rules, visit or watch the video below.

About the Author

A southern California native, Mark Remillard began working in radio in 2010 while in community college as a host of late night and weekend programming for publicly supported 88.5 FM KSBR. While working through college, Mark also interned for the Bill Handel Radio Program at Los Angeles' KFI AM640, where he began his work in journalism. Mark moved to Arizona in August 2012 to finish his bachelor's degree at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and graduated in August 2014. Mark began working as a reporter for KTAR in November 2012.


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