DIAMOND BAR (CBSLA.com) — A ban on burning wood was issued Monday for the South Coast Air Basin, which includes the greater Los Angeles area, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

The ban on burning wood in fireplaces was to remain in effect through midnight, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

READ MORE: Son Arrested For Murder Of Mother Found Dead In Mission Viejo Home

No-burn alerts are mandatory in order to protect public health when a high concentration of fine particle air pollution is forecast, according to AQMD officials. Fine particles in wood smoke – also known as particulate matter or PM2.5 – can get deep into the lungs and cause respiratory illnesses.

The no-burn prohibition also applies to manufactured fire logs, such as those made from wax or paper. Gas or other non-wood-burning fireplaces are not restricted.

READ MORE: New Health Order Will Require Proof Of Vaccination Or Negative Test At Outdoor LA County Events Of 10,000 Or More

The AQMD’s no-burn alerts do not apply to mountain communities above 3,000 feet in elevation, the Coachella Valley or the High Desert.

Homes that rely on wood as a sole source of heat, low-income households and those without natural gas service are also exempt from the requirement.

MORE NEWS: Marsh Homers Off Kopech In 8th, Angels Top White Sox 3-2

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)