There will be no wood burning in the San Francisco Bay area for the next 24 hours. The alert was issued by the Air Quality Management District which continues its fight against poor air quality.
The ban is the first Spare the Air day of the winter season and anyone violating the ban by wood burning inside or outside will receive a $100 fine or the option of attending a wood smoke awareness class, according to sfgate.com. Second time offenders will be slapped with a $500 fine and repeat offenders past that will be imposed even steeper penalties.
Each year the Air Quality Management District issues different alerts but wood burning in the winter months poses the greatest health risks to the Bay Area residents. The executive officer of the air district, Jack Broadbent, in a statement said, “just one burning fireplace can create unhelathy air for an entire neighborhood.” He further commented that winter weather conditions allow wood smoke to build up.
As for the first ban on wood burning, it was found that light winds aided by cold surface temperatures keep particulates close to the ground. This adds to the unhealthy air quality.
Last year the Air Quality Management District issued 23 winter Spare the Air alerts. Spokesman of the district, Ralph Borrmann said the number of alerts issued depends “on what the weather systems do.” Even if the particular area where someone resides seems clear the ban remains effective since the air could be bad elsewhere. Borrmann noted that it only takes one bad area for the alert to be effective everywhere.
The alert is expected be lifted Sunday, although there will still be moderate levels of air pollution. The Spare the Air winter alerts began November 1 and will end February 29.