The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) has issued a Spare the Air Alert for the entire Bay Area on Saturday. It is the first Spare the Air Day declaration of the season by the BAAQMD.
The declaration made by officials means people will not be allowed to burn wood inside or outdoors for at least 24 hours, starting from midnight Saturday to midnight Sunday.
The first offenders caught using their fireplace, wood or pellet stove, outdoor fire pit or other wood-burning device will have to pay a fine of $100 or they will have to take a wood-smoke-awareness class.
If a person is a second time offender then he or she will be fined with $500 and further repetition of the violation will result in more tough actions.
Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air district, on Friday said in a statement that air pollution caused due to burning of wood smoke is one of the highest health threats to Bay Area residents during the winter months.
“Just one burning fireplace can create unhealthy air for an entire neighborhood. It is important that the public refrain from burning, especially during these weather conditions that allow wood smoke to build up”, said Broadbent.
Health officials said the light winds and cold surface temperatures keep the particulates very close to the ground and contribute majorly to unhealthy air quality.
Usually the Spare the Air winter season runs from November 1 through February 29. Last year, there were a total of 23 winter Spare the Air alerts.
CBS Local reported that, The Bay Area Air Quality Management District Friday issued a Spare the Air Alert for the entire Bay Area for Saturday. Burning wood or any other solid fuel, such as manufactured fire logs, is prohibited for 24 hours both indoors and outdoors, air district officials said.
“Air pollution from wood smoke is one of the greatest health threats to Bay Area residents during the winter months,” BAAQMD executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement. “Just one burning fireplace can create unhealthy air for an entire neighborhood.”
ABC7News report said, Air quality in the Bay Area can be unhealthy at times throughout the year. A Winter Spare the Air Alert means that it is illegal for Bay Area residents to burn wood or other solid fuels in fireplaces, wood stoves and inserts, pellet stoves, outdoor fire-pits, or other wood-burning devices for the full 24 hours on the day the alert is issued for.
Winter air pollution is mainly caused by particulates or soot pollution from wood smoke. Smoke from wood-burning fires is linked to illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and lung disease, and is especially harmful for children and the elderly.
According to the Napavalleyregister, first-time violators will be given the option of taking a wood smoke awareness class, online or by mail, to learn about the hazards of wood smoke pollution instead of paying a $100 ticket. Second violations will result in a $500 ticket, and subsequent ticket amounts will be higher.
This winter, homes without permanently installed heating, where wood stoves or fireplaces are the only source of heat, are exempt. However, starting Nov. 1, 2016, the sole source of heat exemption will be available only if the sole source of heat is a wood-burning device that is EPA- certified and registered in the air district’s registration program.