47 possible violations recorded on Christmas Spare the Air Day

12 inspectors worked Christmas Day to look for chimney smoke, nab violators

Nowhere in the Bay Area should chestnuts have been roasting on an open fire on Christmas due to a Spare the Air alert issued for that day, but some residents still lit logs in their fireplaces, an air district spokesman said Monday.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District recorded 47 potential violations of the regional no-burn restriction, air district spokesman Ralph Borrmann said.

The district had declared a Spare the Air Day for the holiday, meaning residents were not allowed to burn wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel. A Spare the Air is issued when there is an unhealthy amount of particulate matter forecast for the region.

For the Christmas Spare the Air Day, the air district received 216 calls ranging from complaints to compliments, Borrmann said. Twelve air district inspectors worked on Christmas, patrolling the region and watching for smoke.

A violation does not automatically mean a resident will get a citation, Borrmann said. He said violations are entered into the air district's database, and that a citation is issued only if a resident has racked up more than one.

A citation carries a $400 fine paid to the air district.

Despite the 47 potential violations, the air quality didn't exceed the federal health standard, Borrmann said.

"It seems like people heard the message," he said.

Homes without permanent heating, where wood stoves or fireplaces are the only source of heat, are exempt from the ban, and fires used for cooking are also allowed.

The winter Spare the Air season runs from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28. The first Spare the Air alert this season was issued on Thanksgiving, and the

second was declared Dec. 9. Christmas was the third.

The daily air quality forecast is available at or To sign up for alerts, visit or sign up for phone alerts at (800) 430-1515.

Bay City News contributed to this report.


Like this comment
Posted by Shane
a resident of Danbury Park
on Dec 28, 2009 at 3:19 pm

You People are ridiculous.

Whats next on the list of things you cant do have a BBQ during the summer?????

There are more important things to worry about than wasting my tax dollars on people driving around looking for people having a fire on Christmas. (bet they received Holiday Pay on my dollar)

Hey how about we use the money for our schools and roadways.

Has anyone stopped to take a look at our Budget Deficit HELLO!!!!!!

What a waist of time any money. Pathetic!!!!!!

Like this comment
Posted by Dixie
a resident of Danbury Park
on Dec 28, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Smoke Cops--you can kiss my chestnuts!

Like this comment
Posted by poor timing
a resident of Foothill Place
on Dec 29, 2009 at 8:37 am

What's next, no fireworks on the 4th of July?

Like this comment
Posted by enough already
a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 29, 2009 at 9:28 am

You people are supposed to be public SERVANTS, why should tax payers pay for 12 workers pay (holiday rate at that)? The air quality didn't even exceed the standard! Guess they thought this would be a way to make some cash. Enough already! Fire some unnecessary workers who are being paid by OUR money and implement a "spare some cash day" that would make sense. The government is out of line, you people work for us. Did you fine Chevron for all the crap they put in the air? Oh yes, we pay for their smog too, at the pump. We breathe the crap they put out and we pay higher gas prices than anyone else in the country! Government, get a grip! We don't need more fines, we need less of you.

Like this comment
Posted by Big Poppa
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 29, 2009 at 9:40 am

This what the people voted for Hoax and Chains.

Like this comment
Posted by Nosy Neighbors
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 29, 2009 at 10:06 am

Coming soon to a state, county, city & town near you...BIG GOVERNMENT! Yes my friends big sis is amiss & wants to control every aspect of your behavior, spending, thoughts & freedoms.

All that nice "Hopey Changey" crap you voted for, your getting it. The banking industry, 30% government controlled. Auto industry, 40+%. Coming soon...SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!!!

But hey, the burning laws are meant to combat that most evil of all evils. Global warming! Oh sorry, Climate change. Or is it global cooling? If it's summer they can call it warming, otherwise if a weather pattern doesn't fit their pre-defined notion of a climate catastrophe it gets changed to climate change.

Here's a prognostication for 2010 that has a good chance of materializing, this will be the year that the greatest farce ever enacted finally is shown to be the biggest lie ever perpetuated. Al Gore & his global warming/cooling/changing cronies are exposed & run out of the country along with their complicit minions in the house & senate.

THAT would make for a Happy New Year!

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 29, 2009 at 10:14 am

Stacey is a registered user.

"Spare some cash day" Oh I like that!

Psst, BAAQMD's mandatory spare the air days were pre-Obama.

Like this comment
Posted by Janna
a resident of Dublin
on Dec 29, 2009 at 10:24 am

Oh, come on Stacey. Don't ruin their fantasies with facts. They're having so much fun!

Like this comment
Posted by Getta Grip
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 10:37 am

I think its interesting how many self-centered dolts on this site seeminly don't give a damn whether their fireplace or wood stove smoke is causing their neighbors respiratory distress, and sending people with asthma or other resiratory illnesses to the hospital. They just keep belching out thier carcinogens and soot, sending up big upraised index fingers in smoke signals. Hopefully, ABAG will increase the fines by a factor of 10 or 100. Do you suppose a fine of $4000 or even $40,000 would get a smoke-belching pig's attention?

Like this comment
Posted by ur a moron
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Dec 29, 2009 at 11:01 am

Hey Getta Grip,

Are u serious? I think a lot of other thing are sending those people to the hospital. I know when my neighbor is having a fire it does nothing to my son's asthma. Unless u are sucking on my chimney it is not going to harm you. Keep spouting off though; [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] I think I laughed at your response more than any other so please reply and give us all something to do today.

Like this comment
Posted by DUBLIN?
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Dec 29, 2009 at 11:05 am

Who asked Dublin to chime in? I think we should just level Dublin and split it between Pleasanton and San Ramon.

Like this comment
Posted by HHR
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 11:21 am

Getta Grip, you have to understand that these are all Right Wing whiners, which is a synonym with SELFISH.

Like this comment
Posted by Janna
a resident of Dublin
on Dec 29, 2009 at 11:38 am

Well, someone has to inject this thread with some reason. Why not someone living in Dublin? BTW, I lived in Pleasanton from 2001-2009.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Dec 29, 2009 at 11:56 am


Just for you and Getta grip, Spair the air days are not for little Tommy next door they are for the environment. It is not a matter of being selfish. Nice try though. Keep the insults coming they only show how REALLY smart you are.

Like this comment
Posted by HHR
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Spare the Air is for everyone's benefit.
The selfish ones will whine that they do not have to comply.


Like this comment
Posted by Arroyo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 12:34 pm

I suggest that those with respiratory problems move closer to the ocean, where the air is "clean". Similar to those who move to the desert because they need the drier air.

Keeping hundreds of neighbors from building fires in their fireplaces on Christmas Day is the height of selfishness.

Like this comment
Posted by Timothy T
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 29, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Not everyone has your advanced means and wherewithal to afford that home on the beach. If you're willing to make a donation to the thousands of families that have kids with asthma to afford such a home then I look forward to your payment.

These people have to suffer just so you can have a fire in your fireplace? You may want to look up the definition of selfishness.

Really? Do you need a fire in your centrally-heated home that bad? REALLY?

I'll take cleaner air over you having a fire in your fireplace for ambiance any day of the week.

Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 12:54 pm

How about posting the names and addresses of the people responsible for these laws and enforcement. Or is there no accountability?

Like this comment
Posted by Janna
a resident of Dublin
on Dec 29, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Huh? Are you dense or something "Jana"?

Was my point too hard for you to comprehend? From your response, I gather it was.

Like this comment
Posted by Danbo
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 29, 2009 at 2:56 pm

I am not a fan of Spare the Air in winter, but I follow it. Still, I find it suspicious that the three days it has occurred was the coldest day of the year, Thanksgiving day and Christmas day. I don't half wonder if it is a plot by PG&E to make sure we use more energy - they knew everyone would be at home!
I don't mind having STA, but I do object to beurocratic busybodies driving around in their Pri-i being able to dole out fines on my dime. It's sad, but this country is becoming so "inform on your neighbor", secret police-y. Utopia's are very hard to build and even more hard to maintain. I don't hold out much hope for this utopia that the current ruling elite are trying to build.

Like this comment
Posted by Shane
a resident of Danbury Park
on Dec 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Everyone needs to just stop being a KNARK!!!!!. Mind your own business and life will go on I promise. Everyone is always pointing fingers, if you dont like someone burning a fire in there fireplace then freakin MOVE somewhere else!!!! My Father has had asthma for 25 years and check it out he burns more fires in his fireplace than I can count on all my little fingers and toes in one winter.

I dont see anyone complaining when there are controlled burns during the Summer months by the fire department?????

HELLLLOOOOO!!!! Hypocrites!!!!!!!!

Some people think they are just better than everyone else and there opionion alone is all that matters.
Good Luck to those people they will face a harsh reality one day!!!!

Like this comment
Posted by Be Positive
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Hey, on Comcast you can play the yule log! It is free, plays music, even crackles.

The anger you spew is much worse for your health by the way.

Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 30, 2009 at 12:57 am

"sending up big upraised index fingers in smoke signals"... Now that's funny, almost as funny as "spare some cash day"...:)

I don't use my fireplace any more(I'm to lazy to bring in the wood), can I sell/trade my "smoke credits" to someone that has a fireplace...:)

Isn't that sort of what "Cap and Trade" is all about - selling/trading credits...

By the way, which leaves the largest carbon foot print - the fireplaces or the "smoke police" driving around on a "spare the air night"...

Like this comment
Posted by Shane
a resident of Danbury Park
on Dec 30, 2009 at 12:55 pm

HaHa No Anger here... and I dont have Comcast.

Happy Holidays everyone Watch out for the Fire Police!!!!

Like this comment
Posted by rayra
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 1, 2010 at 5:33 pm

to that marxist creep 'getta grip' -
a $4k - $40k 'fine' would be grounds enough to burn down a lot of other things.

Like this comment
Posted by pdullea
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 8, 2010 at 6:12 pm

check out if you want to stop arb/carb marxist creep you need to go after their funding. tell your reps to stop funding carb and arb. carb and all it's districts soak up over 800 million dollars a year from the calif.budget taxpayers. I say slash their funding 90% with a corresponding layoff of fireplace snoops and all the other eco-KOOKS they employ.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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