News

20th 'Spare the Air' day alert of season issued for Saturday

3rd consecutive alert this week

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued the 20th winter spare the air alert of the season for today, Saturday.

It's the third consecutive alert this week.

The alert means wood burning is not allowed except in situations where wood is the only source of fuel in the home. The ban also includes burning manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel either indoors or outdoors.

The lack of strong winds is keeping soot near the ground, district officials said, and fortunately the situation may change.

"There may be some onshore breezes coming over the ocean Saturday which will disperse some of the pollutants out of the region," said BAAQMD spokesman Ralph Borrman.

Borrmann said today winds were light and variable and west Marin County got some raindrops, but that was not enough to drive away the pollution.

Using fireplaces, woodstoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits and other wood-burning devices are illegal during a spare the air alert, officials said.

The ban is meant to protect the air quality around resident's homes and prevent pollution from building up in the region. Wood smoke is particularly harmful to children, seniors and people with respiratory conditions.

First-time violators have the option of taking a wood smoke awareness class in lieu of paying a $100 fine. Second violations result in $500 ticket and fines are higher for additional violations.

BAAQMD officials said that the public must check with the air district before burning during the Winter Spare the Air season, which runs

from November 1 to February 28.

The public can call a toll-free hotline at (877) 4-NO-BURN, check the district's website at www.baaqmd.gov or www.sparetheair.org, sign up for

AirAlerts at www.sparetheair.org or 1-800-430-1515 or via Spare the Air Iphone or Android apps.

Keith Burbank, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service

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