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9th "Spare the Air" day called

Cold weather continues to trap pollution near ground

Another "Spare the Air" alert has been issued for the Bay Area today, banning fires and wood burning for the ninth straight day.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued the alert -- its 13th since the district's Winter Spare the Air season began Nov. 1 -- because of an ongoing cold weather pattern that is trapping pollution close to the ground.

"We appreciate the cooperation of Bay Area residents in reducing their wood burning during this long spell of dry and stagnant weather," BAAQMD executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement.

On Winter Spare the Air days, wood burning is banned both indoors and outdoors, with exemptions for homes where wood burning is the sole heat source, according to the air district.

First-time violators of the ban can take a wood smoke awareness class or pay a $100 ticket. Subsequent violations will result in increasing fines.

The daily burn status in the Bay Area can be found online at www.baaqmd.gov or www.sparetheair.org, by calling (877) 4-NO-BURN or by signing up for Spare the Air iPhone or Android apps.

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