Officials declare season’s fourth Spare the Air day for Wednesday

2013-01-15T13:13:00Z 2013-01-15T13:18:55Z Officials declare season’s fourth Spare the Air day for WednesdayRegister staff Napa Valley Register
January 15, 2013 1:13 pm  • 

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued the season’s fourth Winter Spare the Air Alert for Wednesday.

Spare the Air days ban the burning wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors for 24 hours.

“Wood smoke is expected to build up to unhealthy levels in the Bay Area this weekend due to weather conditions that trap smoke near the ground,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District, in a statement. “It’s essential that Bay Area residents refrain from burning wood during this alert so we all have cleaner air to breathe.”

It is illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use their fireplaces, woodstoves and inserts, 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.

Starting this winter, first-time violators will be given the option to take a wood smoke awareness class, online or by mail, to learn about the hazards of wood smoke pollution in lieu of paying a penalty. Second violations will result in a $500 ticket and subsequent ticket amounts will be higher.

The public must check before they burn during the Winter Spare the Air season, which runs from November 1 through February 28. The daily burn status can be found:

• On the Air District Web sites: or

• Via the toll-free hotline 1-877-4-NO-BURN (complaints can also be filed via the hotline)

• By signing up for AirAlerts at or phone alerts at 1-800-430-1515

• Via the Spare the Air iPhone and Android Apps

In the winter, wood smoke from the 1.4 million fireplaces and wood stoves in the Bay Area is the single largest source of air pollution, contributing about one-third of the harmful fine particulate pollution in the air, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Exposure to wood smoke—like cigarette smoke—has been linked to serious respiratory illnesses and even increased risk of heart attacks. Breathing fine particles accounts for more than 90 percent of premature deaths related to air pollution.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District ( is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area.

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(2) Comments

  1. robosan
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    robosan - January 15, 2013 2:54 pm
    For the past two days, they have started out saying that air would be unhealthful (100+ on their scale) and then, a couple of hours later, changed the numbers to 67 to 77--that's a "margin of error" of 33% to 23%. Most people would be fired for such poor errors. Now, it goes from "M" (moderate) in the North Bay to 102. This doesn't sound like science but, rather, politics...
  2. gettingreal
    Report Abuse
    gettingreal - January 15, 2013 4:59 pm
    If BAAQM is going to take our tax money and claim that they are using it to promote clean air shouldn't we be getting compensated for the PG&E that they force us to use? Where's my check?
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