News


No fireplace again today, government rules

Bay Area District bans wood burning Mnday

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has announced that wood burning is banned in the region again today, making this the 22nd "Winter Spare the Air" day of the season.

District spokesman Tom Flannigan explained that winds are light, and the weather is forecast to be dry and mild in the region mid-week. The stagnant air has allowed pollutants to accumulate close to the ground, making the air unhealthy to breathe.

"We haven't been seeing the rain we usually get that helps clean out the air," he said.

Flannigan pointed out that children, the elderly and those with asthma and other respiratory problems suffer when the air is thick with unhealthy particulate matter.

He said a fire in the fireplace "looks nice inside your house, and you can't see the effects it has on other people."

On Winter Spare the Air days, the burning of wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel is illegal both indoors and outdoors. Homes that depend on woodstoves or fireplaces as their only source of heat are exempt from the ban.

Those who get in trouble for violating the ban for the first time are given the choice of paying $100 or taking a wood smoke awareness class. Subsequent violations are met with fines of $500 or more.

Bay Area residents are advised to check the region's burn status before lighting a fire on any given day by visiting the air district's website at www.sparetheair.org or calling (877) 4-NO-BURN.

Flannigan thanked Bay Area residents in advance for observing the wood-burning ban even though it might put a damper on their holiday celebrations.

"By not burning wood, you're helping to create a healthier breathing environment for everyone in the Bay Area," he said.

Winter Spare the Air season runs from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28.

Melissa McRobbie, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by J Pedersen
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 24, 2013 at 8:33 am

I'd like to propose another ban. A ban on stupid, tone deaf, bureaucrats who put their political agendas above the joy countless families will enjoy. Surely there have been centuries of fires on Christmas Eve and day. Allowing one during a low wind day would not harm anyone.

There is the heart of the problem "Allowing". A government that gives permission for fire making is one that is grossly out of control. Pretty soon they will be telling us which kind of bags we can use at the grocery store.....oh wait.

Fight the man. Roast chestnuts on your open fire.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Grillon
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 24, 2013 at 9:07 am

But you can still BBQ any day. Barbecuing during a Winter Spare the Air Alert is not prohibited. I'm planning on smoking a big batch of pulled pork for 20 hours with oak and pecan.

Sometimes I think these "bans" are driven by lobbyists. Remember When PGE was under attack for blowing up neighborhoods? Maybe they got a better offensive coordinator and moved our attention to wood smoke. People who are so busy ratting each other out to the man will not be able to coordinate an effort to go seek the real problem, lobbyists and narrow minded special interests.

Are there no burn days in hell?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Doug
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 24, 2013 at 9:28 am

Telling us when we can or can't warm ourselves when its cold is extremely draconian. Society has been lighting fire during the colder months for thousands of years to keep warm. Also, I haven't found a proven study that shows chimney smoke causes wide spread asthma attacks. Those with asthma know how to take care of themselves. The government needs to facility our pursuit of happiness not control our every action and thought.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 24, 2013 at 9:38 am

J Pederson wrote: "I'd like to propose another ban. A ban on stupid, tone deaf, bureaucrats who put their political agendas above the joy countless families will enjoy. Surely there have been centuries of fires on Christmas Eve and day. Allowing one during a low wind day would not harm anyone."

Well, you're wrong. The spare-the-air days aren't based on anyone's "political agendas", they're based on measurable, quantifiable evidence of poor air conditions. And arguing that lighting fires on spare-the-air days is fine because "there have been centuries of fires on Christmas Eve and day" is one of the most stupid statements I've seen on these forums - and I've seen a lot of stupid statements on these forums.

Educate yourself with what can happen to the air conditions in a modern, industrialized community if unified action to protect air quality is not taken: The "London Fog" of 1952: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by right
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 24, 2013 at 9:55 am

Yeah, Sam, that's a fair comparison, if you're a flaming exaggerator. I'm sure lighting a fire on Christmas day will cause many residents to keel over dead and will extend for weeks on end, like the 'London Fog', which was fuled by burning dirty coal. Nevermind the fact that most of the haze in our local air is caused by car exhaust, industrial output and other particulate matter suspended in our marine-influenced air.

Your argument is a disingenuine as the ones posed by shills like algore, who uses sensationaism to push his agenda, all the while enriching himself with carbon credit schemes. Do you think P.G. & E. would be above using politicians and appointed air board lackeys to promote this spare the air scheme? Who benefits financially from these mandates?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by right wing nuts
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 24, 2013 at 10:12 am

the old woodies will never want change or government or healthy air. But I will have a great fireplace and clean legal fire: Gas logs. They are stuck in caveman mentality and don't think of not polluting all the rest of us. Thanks Sam for trying to educate them. They just need to go to more clean air classes.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 24, 2013 at 10:18 am

"right" wrote: "Yeah, Sam, that's a fair comparison, if you're a flaming exaggerator. I'm sure lighting a fire on Christmas day will cause many residents to keel over dead and will extend for weeks on end, like the 'London Fog', which was fuled by burning dirty coal. Nevermind the fact that most of the haze in our local air is caused by car exhaust, industrial output and other particulate matter suspended in our marine-influenced air."

Excuse me, "right", did you say something about my "exaggeration" just before your exaggeration? As for car exhausts, you need to educate yourself about the difference between pollution from car exhausts and that from wood fires which contain many more fine particulates. Or did you really think that they are one and the same? Get better educated before you post so that you don't waste my time like you did just now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 24, 2013 at 10:24 am

I've turned in generally good citizens who behave badly on a no fireplace day!

The reason I enjoy it is because then you're identified as a trouble maker to the authorities.

America offers many choices but you have to follow the rules. Otherwise, you get in trouble.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Here's a web page by the Australian Air Quality Group comparing pollution from wood heaters versus cars:
....................................
"Woodheater-Car Comparison"

"Many people think that cars are the worst pollutants. Sydney has lots of cars but few woodheaters, so we'd expect all the passenger cars in Sydney to produce more total pollution than the small number of woodheaters. PM2.5 are now considered the most health-hazardous air pollutant, responsible for about 10 to 20 times as many premature deaths as the next worst pollutant, ozone."

"New cars must satisfy strict Euro 5/6 pollution standards, which require a new car, 4WD or SUV travelling 20,000 km to year to emit less than 0.1 kg of PM2.5. In contrast, the NSW EPA estimates that a new wood heater will emit 9.8 kg of health-hazardous PM.25 per year. Thus a brand new AS4013 heater emits as many PM2.5 in 10 hours as a new car does in an entire year and a heater burning 2 tonnes of firewood will emit 19.6 kg of PM2.5, as much as 196 passenger cars!" ( Web Link )
............................

A reminder of how dangerous "PM2.5" fine particulate pollution (such as that given off in large quantities by wood fires) is can be gained by considering the case of an 8-year old girl in China being diagnosed with lung cancer - the youngest person in the world known to have been diagnosed with lung cancer due to pollution:

.........................
"Levels of PM2.5—microscopic particles filling the air as a result of pollution—have been shown in some industrialized areas of China to reach levels up to 40 times higher than the exposure level considered safe by the World Health Organization. What is PM2.5, why is it dangerous, and how can it lead to lung cancer?"

"There are lots of carcinogens emitted with industrial pollution. Our respiratory systems filter out the relatively large particles from air pollution. And they're heavy enough to fall from the air quickly. PM2.5 is a measure of among the finest of the particles; fine enough to stay in the air for weeks. The particles are a fraction of the size of the width of a human hair. The tiny ones come nearly entirely from burning things—coal, gasoline, and diesel. Those tiny combustion particles are small enough to penetrate the lungs, and they're made up of all sorts of nasty particles."
( Web Link )
.........................

So, no, burning wood fires in the Bay Area when the air is trapped and air quality is low is a very bad idea. They make a bad situation worse. About 1/3 of all the particulate air pollution in the Bay Area in winter is caused by wood stoves and wood fireplaces.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 24, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Fruitcakes...have been saving those dreadful fruitcakes for years on end. Now that they have dried out, they burn wonderfully with such a sweet smell...clean burning, due to alcohol content...drawing in neighbors throughout area...to celebrate the reason for the season...fellowship, and whatever suits your fancy. Hope to see you there...spare the air.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 24, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Will they ever ban emissions from refineries, diesel emissions from ships, or busses? I think not. Freeway pollution is detrimental lets get real & honest. Will traffic be banned? I submit thats more polution that 1,000 fires.
The methane lost during natural gas production (fracking) puts natural gas on par with coal.
I propose if you have solar you should be exempt. I propose this agency assit home owners install solar.
Thats a positive step and forward thinking. Put PGE out of business! PGE will skirt fines and get the PUC's help to pass on fines to consumers like their 16% rate increase to pay for their neglected gas line infrastructure and pay their high salaries.
PGE is the biggest source of emissions and polution (including water) in the state. PERIOD.

This is a monkey regulatory agency with over paid managemet just like PGE. Wood is a renewable resource that protects the comsumer from big government and energy corporations


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of another community
on Dec 25, 2013 at 10:49 am

All of you complainers deserve what you are getting.

We the people still control the rules, but we are to scared and too stupid to vote accordingly.

We the people vote these self serving idiots into that appoint other idiots to dictate to the majority.

Maybe some day we will wake up and realize "WE THE PEOPLE ARE IN CONTROL" so people exercise your right and vote with common sense not with a selfish agenda...yes I am talking to all you trough visitors that love the government handouts.

Thanks for listening, the real Julia Pardini from Alamo.

PS...Cholo, you are a real piece of stale cake...you enjoy turning in your good neighbors because you see little puffs of smoke coming from their chimney. Russia would enjoy you living there..


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 25, 2013 at 12:06 pm

So much for the goodwill of the season- infringe on my right to do anything I want and it's a leftist plot. Ever met someone with respiratory issues that are exacerbated on Spare the Air days? I have the right to burn wood and if you end up in the Emergency Room, it's your tough luck. Sam, thanks for the posts - facts are inconvenient things!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 25, 2013 at 1:39 pm

First Merry Christmas to all.

Just burn natural gas and pollute like coal, the great Americal Energy conspiracy PGE is perfect & a responsible corporation. Everyone trusts them and the government blindly, Oh I forgot PGE tossed their pipe inspection reports which showed their gas pipes to be structurally insufficient, resulting in killing SAn Bruno customers, now they ask the PUC and customers for revenue to to pay for their criminal mismanagement failing infastructure and corporate criminal negligence.

I had a gas leak in front of my house & called PGE to fix it; the PGE repair crew told me they have leaks ALL OVER thier system!!! That 10+ years before San Bruno. Blind trust....

Happy Holidays!

Cholo keep turning honest people in and you'll make that bus that heads south.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Haven't you ever heard of Cancer of the Throat?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 25, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of another community
on Dec 26, 2013 at 10:01 am

Mr. Cholo, you must have been very busy on Christmas Day making all your calls and reporting smoke coming from folks in your community.

I was spending Christmas Day with family in Danville and on my way from Alamo to my family's home I counted at least 5 homes using their wood burning fire places..And once the sun went down I know many many family's lite up.

Yes. so did my family...but told them that's a no no...they just looked at me and laughed.

I see the fool made it another no burn day...

Thanks for listening, Merry Christmas from Julia Pardini from Alamo


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Danville
on Dec 26, 2013 at 11:17 am

Julia sounds like a great Christmas good for you. Cholo the world didnt end afterall.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Truth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 26, 2013 at 11:54 am

I just lit my backyard fire pit with an ember from my burning fireplace while smoking a cigar.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Smiley Face
a resident of Castlewood
on Dec 26, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Stupid is as stupid does. If you think burning wood fire poses no hazard to everyone's health, then shut the fireplace vent next time you burn so you can keep all the toxic crap and smoke to yourself instead of sharing them with your neighbors. Get out of the stone age people...we have natural gas fire now!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Those who think wood fires are so terrible stop driving your car on Spare the air days and put solar on your homes if you think its a REAL health issue or leave it all to Cholo, PGE, Chevron, Bectel, Shell and Exxon.

Dick Cheney loves you too.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 26, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Fat hen serves carcinogen laced food delivered by diesel truck, cooked with carbon based energy. Looks like we have to stop living...

Lightem if you gotem
Ha Ha


 +   Like this comment
Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Poor Sam, ignoring competely P.G. & E's vested interest in perpetuating this 'issue' and claiming thousands of cars don't pollute as much as my fireplace. I guess when you have to promote an agenda, you can skew statisitics from any website you find via google. What's your P.G. & E. stock at now, Sam? Hey, nothing wrong with capitalism, just stop the selfish fear mongering.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by marci
a resident of another community
on Dec 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Oh, please be certain God, too, knows wood burning fires pollute the air! Darn those forest fires caused by lightning!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 26, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Sam only smokes smokes truck & car tail pipes, especially if they belong to PGE and Big oil. Tax big oil and use the money for solar two problems solved...

Sams been quiet about PGE's liability in San Bruno, methane and refinery polurion.

Burn baby burn.... So this summer when there is "spare the air" all the cars and trucks will be off the highways...

Whats good for the goose...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Come on
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 26, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Come on people, you are choosing to live in a pretty densely populated area. That is your choice. By doing so, there are considerations of neighbors that are there for the good of everyone. If you don't want to follow those considerations such as not having late night parties, not playing loud music at 4AM, not letting garbage pile up in your yard, and yes, not burning your fireplace on certain days then move to an area where you have more space and these are not things that will bother your neighbors. I like my fireplace too but I have a lot of neighbors and I don't know how many have children with asthma or old folks with emphysema. Right now I am grateful that I'm healthy and I don't but the amount of disrespect written here is just sad. If you met a neighbor with respiratory decline would you just tell them you plan to use your fireplace to their face? Probably not.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Marci wrote: "Oh, please be certain God, too, knows wood burning fires pollute the air! Darn those forest fires caused by lightning!"

Forest fires certainly do pollute the air with small particulates, but they generally don't affect many people do they? After all, that's why they're called "forest fires" and not "major metropolitan fires", right?

You don't make others look silly with your simplistic arguments. You only make yourself look silly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 26, 2013 at 4:10 pm

"Come on" wrote: "Come on people, you are choosing to live in a pretty densely populated area. That is your choice."

Good points. This isn't a matter of conservative versus liberal or big government versus small government. Air quality control measures are a matter of simple common sense in a major urban area such as that San Francisco Bay area.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 26, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Well said Sam there is one large BUT. There is simply to many people on the planet. We are all doomed regarless. I say live and let live the corporates dont care about inequality, just your money and control.

Maybe those who have "issues" in the urban setting need to move, rather than restrict an individuals rights. Its obvious corporations just want your money, they have a responsibilty as well. After San Bruno who can trust PGE or the Air Quality Board.

Just Saying


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 27, 2013 at 8:17 am

Had a great fire Christmas Eve, but I have cool neighbors. I usually tow the line, but some days are off limits for me. I'll enjoy another on New Years Eve. Cheers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nosmo King
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2013 at 8:51 am

Bill,
Please let us know where you live -- before New Year's Eve.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Let's burn the naysayers instead
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2013 at 9:01 am

[removed]

It sickens me that all of you have alternate sources of heat in your expensive homes, but you "have" to burn wood in your fireplace because it's your God-given right. The reason these laws are put in place is to protect vulnerable neighbors from self-important jerks that lack respect and not-so-common decency. Not that you bother to obey the law. That's just for other people. Right?

Go ahead and light your fires, laugh gleefully at all the suffering you hope to cause, and I hope the horns don't show when you look in the mirror. Merry Christmas everyone!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Someone in P town likes to ignore the "San Buno" PGE experience. Keep buying PGE's BS, choke on the next pipline fire. Lots of folks seem to be OK with their negligence, which continues to this day.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 27, 2013 at 8:44 pm

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Let's burn the naysayers instead whined:
'It sickens me that all of you have alternate sources of heat in your expensive homes, but you "have" to burn wood in your fireplace because it's your God-given right. The reason these laws are put in place is to protect vulnerable neighbors from self-important jerks that lack respect and not-so-common decency.'

All of you...expensive homes? Do you really think that those of us that you covet all live in expensive homes? Those in 'expensive homes' are not bothering with fires since a fire won't have much impact of a large home.
The reason these 'committee imposed regulations' were put into place is to further control the property owners by regulating their behavior and forcing them to rely solely on over priced P. G. & E. It's not to protect those frail people that should be living in an iron lung.


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