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Officials Say Dry Winter to Blame for Highest Number of 'Spare the Air' Days in Years

The air district received over 5,0000 wood smoke complaints this season.

By Bay City News Service—      

The 2013-2014 Winter Spare the Air Season, which ended Feb. 28, tied a record set in 2006-2007 for the most Spare the Air alerts issued, Bay Area Air Quality Management District officials said this week. 
 
The season's long stretch of warm weather blocked winds and storms that would have helped dispel air pollution, triggering multiple Spare the Air alerts, officials said. 

The use of wood-burning stoves and fireplaces is prohibited on Spare the Air days. 

"This dry winter brought with it an unprecedented stretch of bad air quality and no-burn days," said Jack Broadbent, the air district's executive officer. 

[Related article: Governor Declares Drought Emergency In California]
 
The air district received a total of 5,091 wood smoke complaints from residents and issued 267 tickets to residents observed to be in violation of the ban on wood burning, officials said. 
 
For the first time this year, those found to be in violation were given the option of completing an online or written wood smoke awareness class rather than paying a $100 ticket. A second violation carries a fine of $500. 
 
So far 136 Bay Area residents have chosen to take the test, but that number is expected to rise, officials said.


novato 3per March 10, 2014 at 03:44 PM
You know I would even be willing to break my own principles and submit to a one time inspection to verify that Im operating an EPA certified wood burning stove if the smoke nazis would be willing to cross check me on "clean burn" days and leave me the hell alone, but we all know that it will never be enough for those totalitarian scum.
Don B March 10, 2014 at 03:57 PM
Robert, you are correct. It was very dry and very cold. Smoke from burning wood is not the same as tailpipe exhaust. It is much worse for people with respiratory problems. As soon as the rain came, the restrictions lifted. This was the driest January I can remember. It was warm, dry and I actually had to go out and turn on my hose and water down some of my plants so they wouldn't die. Oh, and you can use your fireplace on spare the air days if you have a gas log.
Al Nymous March 10, 2014 at 04:06 PM
I don't like smoggy air, in fact nobody likes smog. But when it comes to heating my home, I would like options other than PGE. It's obvious EPA and PGE are bedfellows. If my bill was like everyone else, PGE is rolling in extra money.
Al Nymous March 10, 2014 at 05:24 PM
Don and Robert, of all the issues to discuss on, why do you watermelons decide to chime in on this?.. My guess is that you are union thugs or PGE social media gustapo. Trying to sway the minds of the consumers to believe gas and electric is "clean". All power is dirty if you have half a brain. Trees fall and need to be burned. Why not in the fireplace? If the people want to burn logs, let them! Catalytic converter? Sure but the price better be fair. I want freedom, and you two pinko commie punks get the hell out of my town!
Michael March 10, 2014 at 08:13 PM
more government intrusion on top of government intrusion and oh so many people wanting to tell the rest of us how to live. If you calmly step back you can see how we have allowed the ever increasing mountain of laws and legislation to crush us. All in the name of some goodie goodie who always knows better. Next up the bad breath police. Hey it bothers me so make a law against it right? Could we possibly be any worse off if we stopped making ANY new laws at all? None! Me thinks not. Nanny state for sure we are. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

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