In a bid to contain rising levels of air pollution, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) on Friday issued a “Spare the Air Alert” for the entire area for Saturday.
Bay Area residents will not be able to burn wood or any other solid fuel like manufactured fire logs for 24 hours, neither in their homes not outside. BAAQMD officials noted that air pollution from wood smoke poses a significant risk to residents’ health.
Issuing the alert, BAAQMD executive officer Jack Broadbent said, “Air pollution from wood smoke is one of the greatest health threats to Bay Area residents during the winter months. Just one burning fireplace can create unhealthy air for an entire neighborhood.”
During a Spare the Air Alert, using fireplaces, pellet stoves, wood stoves, outdoor fire pits or any other fire device that burns wood or other solid fuel becomes illegal.
Anyone who will violate the alert for the first-time will be fined $100 or he/she must take a wood smoke awareness class. A second-time violation will attract a fine of $500. Bigger fines will be slapped for subsequent violations.
Homes with fireplaces or wood stoves as the only source of heat are exempt from the alert until November 1 next year when the wood-burning device must be certified by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and registered with the air district.