18th winter 'Spare the Air' day alert issued for today

Unhealthy air from Central Valley may be contributing factor to current poor air quality

A Winter Spare the Air alert has been issued for Thursday, banning wood burning for the 18th time this season.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management

District officials ruled that Bay Area residents will also be prohibited from burning manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel while indoors or outdoors while the alert is in effect.

Residents are not allowed to use wood-burning devices such as fireplaces, woodstoves, pellet stoves and outdoor fire pits.

The Winter Spare the Air alert season started on Nov. 1 and continues through Feb. 28.

On Thursday, air district officials expect harmful levels of particulate pollution, but predict it will reduce over the weekend.

Unhealthy air from the Central Valley may also be a contributing factor to the Bay Area's current air quality, according to district officials.

But for now, the air pollution is staying over the region due to a lack of onshore winds that cannot blow the substance out of the area, air district officials said.

"The unhealthy air we have experienced for much of 2015 is expected to make a brief comeback," Jack Broadbent, the air district's executive officer, said in a statement.

Eleven consecutive Spare the Air alerts were issued earlier this month, tying last year's record streak.

A total of 30 alerts were issued during the 2013-14 Winter Spare the Air alert season.

"The air district will be revising our Wood Burning Rule this spring and consideration will need to be given to many new measures that can better control winter air pollution in the future," Broadbent said.

Wood smoke makes up about one-third of air particulate pollution during the winter in the Bay Area, where there are more than 1.4 million fireplaces and wood stoves. It can be especially harmful for the elderly, children and people suffering from respiratory conditions, air district officials said.

People found in violation of the ban will be required to take a wood smoke pollution class, either online or by mail, in lieu of a $100 ticket.

Second-time violators will be issued a $500 ticket and subsequent violations will result in tickets of higher amounts.

More information on the daily burn status can be found online at or, by calling (877) 4-NO-BURN or by utilizing the Spare the Air iPhone and Android apps.

Jamey Padojino, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
Posted by Terrie
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 15, 2015 at 4:19 pm

I think the spraying of chemicals from high altitude jets is the cause. Look up at the sky. It's not normal.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Pleasanton's home-grown "unicorn"
By Tim Hunt | 3 comments | 1,204 views

Ten Tips for Teens and Young Adults to Survive a Dysfunctional Family
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 707 views

Can You Afford Your ‘Dream School’?
By Elizabeth LaScala | 2 comments | 351 views

The Five
By Jeb Bing | 0 comments | 191 views