Bay Area residents are being asked not to throw a log on the fire this Thanksgiving due to poor air quality, and could face a substantial fine if they ignore a Bay Area Air Quality Management District warning.
The Air District has issued its first winter "Spare the Air" alert for today.
Air District CEO Jack Broadbent said in a statement that forecast cold weather and low winds will contribute to unhealthy air quality.
Wood smoke is a major source of wintertime air pollution in the Bay Area, according to the Air District.
"We're asking Bay Area residents to respect the health of their neighbors and fellow community members this Thanksgiving, and not to burn wood in their fireplaces and woodstoves," Broadbent said.
The Air District prohibition covers both indoor and outdoor wood burning, as well as the burning of manufactured fire logs and other solid fuel.
Spokeswoman Ana Sandoval said the Air District has about 70 inspectors that patrol the nine Bay Area counties overseen by the Air District.
The inspectors won't go into anyone's home, Sandoval said, but they will look for smoke coming from chimneys or backyards and will first
send a letter of warning to residents that violate the ban. A second violation can bring a $400 fine, she said.
The Air District issued 254 warning letters to Bay Area residents last year, Sandoval said. The majority of the warnings came in Contra Costa and Marin counties.
Of those, only one ticket was issued, to a resident in Santa Rosa, according to Sandoval.