Pleasanton Weekly

News - December 16, 2011

News digest

Even before the sun set Tuesday, predicted weather conditions and unhealthy air prompted the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to proclaim the season's fifth winter Spare the Air Day for Wednesday, which meant that wood burning, both indoors and outdoors, would be illegal. The alert also bans the burning of manufactured fire logs and other solid fuel. Last week, there were four consecutive Spare the Air days.

The ban was in effect for Pleasanton, the Tri-Valley and the rest of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, southern Sonoma and southwestern Solano counties, air district officials said.

About one-third of the harmful soot in the winter air can be attributed to wood smoke from the roughly 1.4 million fireplaces and wood stoves in the Bay Area, according to the district.

The Friends of the Pleasanton Library netted $16,947 at its September Book Sale, it announced this week, thanking patrons for donated 850 boxes of merchandise and volunteering to organize and run the sale.

Funds from the two annual sales are used to supplement library services and materials, such as shelving, tables, chairs, carts and music programs. The Spring Book Sale will take place March 30-April 1.

Visit friendsofthepleasantonlibrary.org for the latest news and volunteer opportunities.

San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District reports a sharp increase in home fires caused by fireplaces, chimneys and home heating units. It suggests scheduling annual inspections of fireplaces and chimneys with a licensed contractor and equipping chimneys with approved spark arrestors; never burn trash, paper or holiday wrap in the fireplace because embers can float up the chimney and onto the roof; discard ashes in a closed metal container, fill with water and store outside away from the home; and check whether furnaces are in need of a checkup.

Also, if using a portable heater, keep it three feet from items that can catch on fire and ensure the heater has an automatic turn-off function if it should tip over.

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