The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is asking the public to voluntarily forego burning wood or other solid fuels on Tuesday, but it's not mandatory.
The decision to strongly discourage but not ban wood burning was made based on improving levels of fine particulate matter in the Bay Area's air, district officials said.
Tuesday breaks an 11-day streak of Winter Spare the Air alerts that included a prohibition on using fireplaces and woodstoves in the region
over the last week and a half. The streak tied last year's record of 11 consecutive alerts in the Bay Area.
Air district spokesman Walter Wallace said that if a large number of Bay Area residents light fires on Tuesday, air pollution could quickly
build up and lead to another Winter Spare the Air alert on Wednesday.
"That's always a possibility," Wallace said. "With more burning, we can expect more particulate mass in the air."
Weather conditions have improved slightly, with light winds helping to reduce air pollution levels throughout the region, but district
officials expect those levels to climb again on Wednesday.
There are 1.4 million fireplaces in the Bay Area, making wood smoke the single largest source of air pollution in the winter time, air district officials said.
On Tuesday and Thursday of last week, air pollution levels in the Bay Area exceeded federal health standards.