SAN FRANCISCO – The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is issuing the season’s ninth Winter Spare the Air Alert for Sunday, January 4, which bans burning wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors for 24 hours.
A high pressure weather system is in place over the Bay Area, resulting in cold, calm weather, along with poor air quality this weekend. As air pollution accumulates in the region, air quality is forecast to be unhealthy for the third day in a row.
“Unfortunately, we have not seen the change in weather conditions needed to improve air quality,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “We are asking for the public’s continued cooperation in reducing harmful wood smoke pollution and helping to protect the health of all Bay Area residents.”
It is illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use their fireplaces, woodstoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or any other wood-burning devices during a Winter Spare the Air Alert. Homes without permanently installed heating, where woodstoves or fireplaces are the only source of heat, are exempt.
Like cigarette smoke, wood smoke contains fine particles and carcinogenic substances that make the air harmful to breathe inside and outside the home. Wood smoke is the major source of air pollution in the Bay Area in the wintertime and is especially harmful to children, the elderly, and people with respiratory conditions.
First-time violators will be given the option of taking a wood smoke awareness class, online or by mail, to learn about the hazards of wood smoke pollution in lieu of paying a $100 ticket. Second violations will result in a $500 ticket, and subsequent ticket amounts will be higher.