News

'Spare the Air' alert rules out wood burning fireplaces Christmas Day

Stagnant cold air makes air quality conditions difficult for those with asthma, other breathing problems

Some may call the air quality district managers scrooges while many others will be able to breathe a sigh of relief today as a "Spare the Air" alert makes wood-burning illegal on Christmas Day.

The alert issued for today will prevent most Bay Area residents from burning wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel on Christmas.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District Thursday issued the alert, the third of the winter Spare the Air season.

The ban applies to both indoor and outdoor fires in fireplaces, woodstoves, fire pits, or other wood-burning spaces.

Homes without permanently installed heating, where woodstoves or fireplaces are the only source of heat, are exempt from the ban, according to officials. Fires used for cooking are also exempt from the ban.

Stagnant, cold weather conditions brought the region into the "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" category of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Index.

District spokeswoman Lisa Fasano said the lack of wind in the region is causing the amount of particulate pollution to rise.

District officials are warning children, the elderly, and people with heart and lung problems to limit outdoor exertion since they are the most susceptible to the harmful effects of wood smoke.

The first Spare the Air alert in the winter season was issued on Thanksgiving, while a second was declared Dec. 9.

Fasano said air district officials do not take into account how many people may be burning wood during the holidays when deciding on whether to issue an alert.

"It has nothing to do with figuring there's going to be a lot of burning or not," she said. "It just turns out that cold, calm weather has happened on two holidays."

The winter Spare the Air season runs from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28. The daily air quality forecast is available at www.baaqmd.gov or www.sparetheair.org.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Missi
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 25, 2009 at 8:32 am

Anyone notice the number of winter days declared "Spare the Air" days has gone way up since they added the wood burning ban?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dominic
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 25, 2009 at 8:45 am

This is nothing more than liberal nonsense. Another attempt to control our lives through the bureuacracy of government. This is wrong and we should fight against this; we don't live in a communist country although the liberals in power continue to take away our rights...

Give me a break...We live in California, the land known to have season characterized by massive forest fires (fire season) and these dopes wants me to not use my own fireplace when they say so? If my neighbor is sensitive to woodburning, they should take some personal responsiblity and stay indoors...

I say, bring "more wood," I have the chestnuts ready!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Larry
a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 25, 2009 at 8:53 am

The atheist liberal vermin called one for Thanksgiving day as well. It's clearly just a slam at traditional celebrations of American/Christian holidays. There were plenty of cold still days in between that were NOT called Spare the Air. It's a load of crud and I'm burning a log anyway, come and get us if you dare!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Burn Away!
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 25, 2009 at 9:21 am

More garbage from the Left! I say scrooge you Smoke Cops!!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by burnin
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 25, 2009 at 9:42 am

Burn those logs everybody and have a Merry Christmas!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam Weaver
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Dec 25, 2009 at 9:45 am

Does anyone know what happens if you violate the ban?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 25, 2009 at 10:07 am

you know what happens when you burn wood...it burns...duh

actually, if you burn the wood the munchin's appear...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 25, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Welcome to the new clean world. Folks you are losing more rights every day. Soon you might you might be trying to live in a cave but the "codes" won't allow that either, and caves are cold without a WOOD fire to keep warm. Get these idiots out of government that that perpetuate these stupid laws on the population.Yeah,good luck!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 26, 2009 at 9:21 am

It might be noted these "air quality district managers" were not elected by the citizens of California. They were "appointed" by someone...

Does anyone know anything about these "air quality district managers"? Qualifications, ect...

Just wondering...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PToWN94566
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 26, 2009 at 1:39 pm

PToWN94566 is a registered user.

I suppose everyone that is blaming a specific political party are also the ones who complain in the middle of the summer that the air looks brown/green over our town (driving 580 east).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Patriot
a resident of another community
on Dec 26, 2009 at 5:36 pm

And while we're at it, let's put the lead back in gasoline where it belongs. And get rid of catalytic converters and "scrubbers", and tail pipe emission laws and all that crap. Stop communism now! Catalytic converters are a communist plot.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ToCholos
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Patriot for President! He has the logic of OBAMA. Ship him back to Mexico.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No More
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2009 at 5:04 pm

This is just another part of Obama making up jobs on your dollar. There was an article about a gal newly appointed by Obama admin. for a job that didn't exist before. She thought it would be a good idea to put a note on the doors of homes that are for sale listing the cost of commuting. How does she know where they work or what method of transportation they use to get there???? Just another example of our money being wasted.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Getta Grip
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2009 at 10:18 am

Wow, the California me-first mentality really shines through -- "I'm going to burn my fire and I don't give a damn if it kills me or my neighbors". Brilliant! Get real people. This is not an Obama issue (although, being a conservative, I wish it were). Acually, I'd guess that a majority of wood burners are liberals. This is a practical matter -- burning wood in a fireplace or a stove with out a catalytic converter is a horrendous polution source and a carcinogenic one at that.

About 20 years ago, Denver had the second-most polluted air in the country, second only to LA. They banned word burning fireplaces and stoves that didn't have converters, and started adding ethanol to their gasoline and they dropped out of the top 30. So, get a grip on just how bad a pollution source wood burning is and do something else to kindle that romantic spirit.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Arroyo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2009 at 11:25 am

We had a beautiful fire on Christmas evening, but I promise not to burn a fire on spare the air days during June - September.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Really?
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 28, 2009 at 11:27 am

Comrades, What is the problem. Just comply and you will have nothing to vorry about......Just because we got rid of our old system doesn't mean it doesn't work. China still uses it so why shouldn't your government?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nick
a resident of Valley Trails
on Dec 28, 2009 at 11:32 am

Our air is thousands of time better than it was 200 years ago or even 100 years ago. The air quality district people are cronies of our elected officials. They worked in their campaigns and are rewwarded with these environmental jobs and make 150,000 a year and haven't a clue of what they are doing. Calif Air resourses board is the same thing. They want to stop all trucks with diesel engines and can you imagine the cost of products. These people are nuts and our politicians are respomsible for them being there. We have 1000 teachers out of work and our stupid government has funded CARB for billions. It make no sense. Write your govn and stop this insanity.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nick
a resident of another community
on Jan 8, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I'm a reporter working for a news organization that covers Western issues, and I'm hoping to write a story on the fire ban controversy in the Bay Area. If you'd be willing to talk to me about your encounter with an Air Quality inspector on Christmas, or another day, please send me an e-mail: nicholasn AT hcn DOT org .

Thanks a bunch--

Nick


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Asthma Suffer
a resident of another community
on Jan 12, 2010 at 10:00 pm

No one has made the proper argument about people who Burn Wood or Logs and why it needs to stop immediately Nationwide.

When People who must Burn their Fireplaces start PAYING for What they LOVE so much then it will be okay for them to burn WOOD. READ BELOW WHAT REALLY HAPPENS WHEN WOOD IS BURNED....

The people who Burning solid fuel yields particulate pollution - solid particles smaller than a red blood cell which have been implicated in 30,000 deaths in the US and 2.1 million deaths world wide per year. . "Particulate pollution is the most important contaminant in our air. ...we know that when particle levels go up, people die1. " Indeed, wood smoke is chemically active in the body 40 times longer than tobacco2.
1. Joel Schwartz, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, E Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2002
2. Wm. A Pryor, Persistent Free Radicals in Woodsmoke: An ESR Spin Trapping Study, Free Radical Biology and Medicine 1989, 7(1): 17-21


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Carlos
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Jul 28, 2011 at 8:07 am

We BBQ quite a bit. Does the wood-ban include charcoal? I use wood charcoal (i.e. real wood that has been charcoaled without any other processing or additives). Does the ordinance allow that?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Richard
a resident of another community
on Dec 28, 2013 at 5:42 pm

I live in the Northern Zone and this evening I can see clearly to the horizon for 360 degrees - no evidence of air pollution. So I have to ask exactly where the BAAQMD is measuring the particulates it swears are in our air. I have asthma and my mother is 97 yet neither of us is suffering outside. For thousands of years, we burned wood and the human race thrived. Now that there are 6 billion of us, we all of a sudden want to make it MORE safe? Qui bono? The people who produce natural gas. Maybe they are the ones making these decisions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 29, 2013 at 5:26 pm

If you plan to burn wood on a no fireplace day, then please explain how come you get so upset when young folks/students smoke weed? Crack? etc. etc. etc.

All that inhaling is bad for your health.

So please explain how come you can inhale filthy air and teens can't?

Thank you.


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