Duraflame Inc. has filed a lawsuit against the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, claiming the district does not have the right to
ban all combustible material on days forecast to have particularly unhealthy air, a company spokesman said.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Contra Costa County Superior Court, according to Duraflame spokesman Chris Caron.
The suit alleges the Bay Area Air Quality Management District did not comply with required procedures before implementing its wood-burning ban, Caron said.
According to the lawsuit, the air quality district did not prove the region's need to limit the use of manufactured logs.
"The district has failed to follow procedures to define why fire logs should be included in the solid fuel wood category with firewood, and nor did they make an adequate attempt to quantify the effectiveness of the new control measures," Caron said in a statement.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District calls for winter spare the air days when the amount of particulate matter in Bay Area air is expected to reach unhealthy levels.
On those days, residents are not allowed to burn wood, fire logs or pellets in a fireplace or wood stove, air district spokeswoman Lisa Fasano said.
"The district bans all combustible burning materials during the winter spare the air alert," Fasano said. "My understanding is (Duraflame) wants to have some sort of exception for their product."
But she added that the air district believes it is important to ban all burning materials that could worsen an already hazardous quality of air.
"When we have the right weather conditions, it traps those pollutants in the air and makes it very unhealthy," she said. "Even though some products may claim they put less particulate (matter) out, they don't put zero particulates out."
Duraflame officials said filing the suit was "a difficult decision," according to Caron, and they prefer to work together with the air district instead of against it.
Since the winter spare the air season began Nov. 1, eight spare the air days have been called. The season ends Feb. 28, according to Fasano.