Winter Spare the Air Alert Issued for Sunday

BAY AREA — A Winter Spare the Air alert has been issued for Sunday, Bay Area Air Quality Management District officials announced Saturday.

Bay Area residents and businesses are not allowed to burn wood throughout the day whether they are indoors or outdoors, air district officials said.

The alert comes after recent storms in the region have resulted in light winds and cool weather conditions, which made way for air pollution to build up, district officials said.

“We were fortunate to have a weather system move through the region over the holidays,” Jack Broadbent, air district executive officer, said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, stagnant weather conditions have returned, requiring us not to burn wood to prevent unhealthy air,” Broadbent said.

The alert is the fifth so far this season since the Winter Spare the Air alert season started on Nov. 1.

Homes that only have wood stoves or fireplaces as a source for heat are exempt from the ban, according to air district officials.

Wood smoke consists of fine particles and carcinogenic substances that are a major source of air pollution in the Bay Area, air district officials said.

The smoke can be especially harmful to children, the elderly and those suffering from respiratory conditions, district officials said.

People found in violation of the ban will be required to take a wood smoke awareness class instead of paying a $100 ticket, according to the BAAQMD.

Those who violate the ban a second time will be fined $500 and subsequent violations will be fined higher amounts, BAAQMD officials said.

(Copyright 2014, Bay City News, All rights reserved.)

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