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Yet another Spare the Air alert ahead

Original post made on Jan 18, 2013

Air quality in the Bay Area is forecast to be unhealthy this weekend, prompting the fourth consecutive Winter Spare the Air Day alert for Saturday, air district officials said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 18, 2013, 3:20 PM

Comments (21)

Posted by common sense, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Use common sense. Don't light up on sunny days. If you must light up, do it only on rainy days.

Posted by Enough already, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Really, there is no need for a fireplace in this day and age. They are not an efficient source of heat unless you stand directly in front of the fireplace and do not leave the spot! Bundle up if you are cold, put extra blankets on the bed, but do not burn wood. One-fourth of the population of this state is now stricken with asthma...have a little empathy.

Posted by Pyro maniac, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 18, 2013 at 6:33 pm

i'm going to buy some lighter fluid and carcoal at safeway, baby! carry it out in those plastics bags. goin home and firin' up the bar-b! oh, and by the way, i'm driving the SUV!

Posted by Wake Up, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 18, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Over population is the problem. Air pollution will only get worse no matter what you do

Posted by Clinical Psychologist, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 19, 2013 at 5:30 am

Pyro, you're not going to do any of that. You're just going to voice your frustration here and try to push buttons. Its crystal clear, we see this sort of message board bluster all the time.
I hope you feel less angry about things now that you've vented. We're here to support you as you begin to heal.

Posted by Think About It, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 19, 2013 at 7:45 am

It's looking more and more like Spare the Air days are not actually based on poor air quality all over the bay area, but are put in place as a propaganda device. All of these recent days had moderate air quality ratings in our area.

If they're really serious about their work, why not concentrate their efforts in the north bay area, where the quality is poorer, and let the few people who still have fireplaces enjoy the occasional fire?

What I really question is whether these draconian efforts at a trivial problem deflect attention from the serious pollution from refineries and the plants right on the bay in Redwood City.

Posted by Left of Boom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2013 at 9:06 am

Left of Boom is a registered user.

PM 2.5 of 102 on Friday and Saturday in the Coast and Central Bay Reporting area (of which we belong). A PM 2.5 over 100 is unhealthy.

(Beijing measured a PM 2.5 of 886.)

Posted by PULLEAZE, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 19, 2013 at 9:33 am

Last evening, when I came home from work, it was nearly seventy degrees outside and yet I was engulfed in the smell of woodsmoke!

Obviously, some citations are in order in MY neighborhood

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 19, 2013 at 9:47 am

If that was the case pulleaze, it would have been quite easy to identify the violators--some. Should have been belching from all the chimneys in your area. Sou da like another gross exaggeration that people on this forum are known for

Posted by is an issue, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 19, 2013 at 9:56 am

My neighborhood really stinks of smoke too. However, people light up at night so I cannot see the smoke. If I could see it, I would call the police.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 19, 2013 at 10:16 am

Let's stop the bloviating, the whining and the finger pointing and look at some facts. Smog is bad for all of us. If you or your child is asthmatic, wood smoke is a killer.

Asthma in California: Web Link

Asthma nationally: Web Link

I was educated by some facts in a previous StA day thread:

1 in 11 children have asthma. 1 in 12 adults have asthma. Black children are twice as likely to have asthma. Blacks are 2-3 times more likely to die from asthma. (data 2009)

"Smoke From Burning Wood --- Smoke from burning wood or other plants is made up of a mix of harmful gases and small particles. Breathing in too much of this smoke can cause an asthma attack."

Fireplaces release particulate matter that can kill asthmatics! Hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits per year by asthmatics in 2009.

Fireplaces are also the WORST way to heat your home (without a proper insert.) The heat draws up the chimney, creating a vacuum in the house which draws air in through any avenue (cracks, vents, etc..) directly from outside. The warm glow around the fire creates colder conditions in the rest of the house.

"The number of people diagnosed with asthma grew by 4.3 million from 2001 to 2009. From 2001 through 2009 asthma rates rose the most among black children, almost a 50% increase. Asthma was linked to 3,447 deaths (about 9 per day) in 2007. Asthma costs in the US grew from about $53 billion in 2002 to about $56 billion in 2007, about a 6% increase."

Posted by Think About It, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 19, 2013 at 10:18 am

Left of Boom: the Air Quality Index for Redwood City is current 38--Good. it is projected to be 82 at its height--Moderate. In the past few days, the index has rarely reached the projected high.

If the Spare the Air people weren't pursuing a propaganda campaign against fireplaces while ignoring the politically untouchable sources of severe pollution, they'd be more flexible and allow home fires where there's no reason to ban them. As in Palo Alto for the past week and coming weekend.

Most of the anti-fireplace fanatics are actually playing the big corporations' game.

Posted by is an issue, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 19, 2013 at 10:43 am

What are "the politically untouchable sources of severe pollution"? They do accuse car drivers of causing most of the pollution during the summer. The smell of wood smoke in the air this morning speaks for itself.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 19, 2013 at 10:52 am

It is time to end the spare the air program

1/ it adds no value

2/ it wastes money

3/ it is group of parasitic bureaucrats pandering to fanatical environmental activists

End this useless program

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 19, 2013 at 10:53 am

Think About It: "a propaganda campaign against fireplaces while ignoring the politically untouchable sources of severe pollution"

Oh Noes! Don't worry, Alcoa has a sale on tin foil. Start folding!

Web Link

- Spare the air website Web Link

Do what you can. Ignore the conspiracy theory types. Above all, do NOT BURN WOOD, unless you have a modern insert and converter. Wood smoke creates REAL problems for those with lung issues.

Posted by selfish fireburner, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 19, 2013 at 11:01 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Think About It, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Is an Issue: It's handier politically to shut down a few fireplaces rather than take on big oil at the Martinez refinery. You probably won't see the Spare the Air folks shutting down the cement and other factories spewing out smoke with plenty of particulates near the bay in Redwood City. Diesel-powered trucks put out plenty of unhealthy particulates, but those big rigs aren't stopped on the highways to spare our air.

Sharon, I've read the stuff on the spare the air pages. Those figures sound impressive, but they're pretty vague. The air quality site says that when particulate emissions are moderate, sensitive groups should not engage in strenuous activity. That sounds sensible. When they're good, no restrictions. By the way, an increase from 53 billion to 56 billion is not 6%. It's not even 3%. Who did this math? Is the rest of their math this inaccurate?

Guess what? The RC Air Quality forecast was for a MODERATE level of 82. But it never got above 52. Particulate levels this morning were GOOD. Right now, particulate levels are GOOD. There are some checkable facts, and then there is the position of the spare the air people.

Alcoa aluminum sale, Sharon? Folding aluminum foil? What in the world are you talking about?

Posted by pyro maniac, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 19, 2013 at 5:11 pm

to Clinical Psychologist

are you really a shrink? think about it, you think folks who bar-b-que, use normal light bulbs, don't use canvas shopping bags, don't worry about GMOs, allow their dogs to dump in neighbors yards, use gas powered leaf blowers, or ride skate boards are really the problem? you want to regulate these activities? there are kids jumping in front of trains in PA, mentally ill people on the streets, and you're concerned with political correctness? i don't think i'm the one that needs to heal. by the way, the only thing not true in my post is i drive a full size truck and not an SUV. the bar-b has been going since 10:00 this morning. oh no, what's next posting cancer warning in the coffee shops.......

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 19, 2013 at 6:07 pm

@Think About It >> Who did this math?

I get 5.66%

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 19, 2013 at 6:42 pm

An issue--- well if your neighborhood stinks of smoke, then that mean sthat all the people are selfish and self centered ( actually I think this ia another typical palo alto over exaggeration). If that is the case we should do nothing to mitigate the parking problems in professorville.

Posted by Think About It, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 20, 2013 at 6:43 am

musical: Oops. You're right. Close enough to 6%.

Oh well. Everybody makes mistrakes.

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