Sunday's 'Spare the Air' Marks Seventh Straight Day Alert Issued

Homes where wood burning is the only heat source are exempt from the ban.

Credit: Los Gatos Patch
Credit: Los Gatos Patch

By Laura Dixon

Bay City News Service


For the seventh time this week and the 22nd time this winter, Bay Area residents will be banned from burning wood on Sunday.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued the "Winter Spare the Air" alert for Sunday - prohibiting residents both indoor and outdoor burning of wood, logs or other solid fuels.

Homes where wood burning is the only heat source are exempt from the ban.

The ongoing ban is prompted by a prolonged dry weather pattern that is "allowing air pollution to reach unhealthy levels" throughout the Bay Area, air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said.

"Wood burning in these conditions elevates the levels of particulate pollution in our neighborhoods and communities, making it unhealthy for everyone to breathe," he said.

Wood smoke is the Bay Area's main source of winter air pollution and can be especially harmful to children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions, according to air district officials.

First-time violators must pay a $100 fine or take a wood smoke awareness class.

Additional violations are subject to a fine of $500 or more.

Bay Area residents may check the daily burn status by calling (877) 4-NO-BURN or by visiting the district's website at www.sparetheair.org.


Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

Sam December 29, 2013 at 09:57 AM
I sure hope all the people who have commented on here that they will burn anyway will be cited. I know my neighbor was cited last week. The inspector looked from my balcony and mapped out his next few tickets. We have a clean air law for a reason "OUR HEALTH"
Dennis Lindsey December 29, 2013 at 11:03 AM
To say that "wood smoke is the bay areas main source of winter air pollution" is kind of ludicrous when there haven't been many days that have been "burning OK" this month, while there have been mostly unhealthy air days. I would have to say that cars, buses, trucks, trains, refineries, co-generation plants, and business's that burn to make a product are probably responsible for our air pollution woes. To blame the bay areas air pollution problems on the few that burn to heat their homes seems a little harsh when there are far larger polluters making money doing it Just a thought. Dennis
Rick Voorhees December 29, 2013 at 11:51 AM
PG & E has just made a ton of money the past 2 weeks. EPA & PG & E are two peas in a pod...Thanks for nothing...
novato 3per December 29, 2013 at 02:20 PM
Hey Sam, If you refuse to acknowledge your own self-ownership, fine but please be kind enough not to presume to surrender your neighbor’s by proxy.
Dave Robertson December 29, 2013 at 03:53 PM
I'd like to see some numbers and documentation to describe what pollution we are talking about. This information is available ... somewhere.
novato 3per December 29, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Dennis is right, since we haven't been allowed to burn, and the air quality is still allegedly bad, how is it our fault. Anyway, I'm one to trust my own senses, and when I go outside, I see a bright blue sky, smell fresh air, and feel a clean breeze moving through the area, but nevertheless, our controllers keep their boot on our necks with yet another declaration of their authority over our lives, and useful kool aid drinking idiots like Sam turn in their neighbors...."first they came for the fireplaces and I did not speak out..."
novato 3per December 29, 2013 at 10:06 PM
So is everyone waiting until 12:01 to touch off that big fire?
novato 3per December 30, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Enjoying a nice cheery warm fire in my insert stove this morning - really warms the bones. Went outside to look at the chimney and I see nothing but heat waves - no visible particulates. You know, I'd be in favor of a smart-burn program, where if someone is burning trash or unseasoned wood, they could be fined. This would involve a 5 minute grace period given for one to get their fire burning hot enough to achieve a good clean burn with their seasoned wood - education is a sensible approach, not a knee-jerk nanny law.
Hopkin December 30, 2013 at 03:45 PM
But education leads to less fees & fines!
Rick Voorhees December 30, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Totally agree with Novato3per, we upgraded to a EPA wood burning insert and when it's burning hot the only thing you see is the heat waves....If it's cold tonight I will be burning....I agree if your fireplace is burning creosite probably misspelled that, and making smoke then those people should be fined or told not to burn.
novato 3per December 30, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Right Hopkin, they allow us no input, they leave no middle ground, no compromise, no consideration for other points of view or verifiable scientific data to justify their imposition on our natural rights. They are having no trouble justifying their existence to the many sheeple of the bay area - the same crowd, roughly, who bought the man-made global warming theory, now known as "climate change", full of inconvenient truths they'd rather not acknowledge these days..
novato 3per December 30, 2013 at 04:15 PM
Exactly Rick, people who have independently made the move to a more efficient burning appliance, or burn only seasoned wood have been punished with this absolutist, one size fits all ordinance. The same consideration might go for WHERE you are located in the bay area, for example, more rural properties burning wood will affect less people than those on city blocks (and less likely to be detected by smoke Nazis). How about easing up on banning fires after a certain time period, for example, how many people are outside running or walking after 9pm ? As a trade off for our consideration during daylight hours, could we then meet other people's needs to keep their house warm at night, when everyone is indoors?
novato 3per December 30, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Oh I see they've declared tomorrow another burn ban. I will be burning up until 12am, and then it will take a long time for the wood stove to stop burning if I add no more wood . I sure hope I'm not supposed to guess how long my stoked wood stove will burn for when it was lit on a legal burn day/evening - too many variables to wager a guess. I suppose if I'm ticketed I will be the first to take them to court on this.
Rick Voorhees December 30, 2013 at 04:50 PM
Come on EPA.....this is totally absurd....They have now issued a spare the air alert for New Years Eve.....This is total BS......People are going to be home on New Years Eve naturally. Does anyone want to bet that one will be issued on New Year's Day as well....Thanks for nothing...
Bob Ratto December 30, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Rick Yes, highly likely they will declare this for News Year Day as well. Not to make it too complicated, but this is BAAQMD (Bay Area Air Quality Management District), a group of 365 people that have taken the position that they are the "air czars", and they have standards that are much stricter than the EPA-to my knowledge, nowhere in Marin have we had air that would meet EPA standards of unhealthy. The curious part to me is why anyone would accept a penalty from such people, they are not the police, you are not doing something that hasn't been done for millenia, in a house that you own, on your own property. Perhaps in the not too distant future, we shall all be deemed to required to wear, say, brown, on Tuesdays.


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