'Spare the Air' alert issued for Thursday

Cold weather, lack of wind forces officials to declare third alert of season

Weather predictions for Thursday in the Bay Area have prompted air-quality officials today to issue the third Winter Spare the Air alert of the season.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District today issued the alert, which bans burning wood, manufactured firelogs, or any other solid fuel both indoors and outdoors. Air quality is expected to be unhealthy in the region due to cold weather and a lack of wind that will trap pollutants in the air close to the ground, according to the district.

Particulate matter from wood smoke is the main source of winter air pollution, and has been linked to illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and lung disease. The pollutants can be especially dangerous to children, older adults and people with heart or lung conditions.

People should check the daily burn status -- which can be found online at or -- before burning wood during the Winter Spare the Air season, which runs from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28.

People who are found to be burning wood during a Spare the Air Day could face hefty fines. First-time offenders will receive a warning, but a second violation is subject to a $400 fine, with steeper fines for further violations. Residents and businesses that burn wood as their only source of heat are exempt from the alerts. The two previous Spare the Air Days of the season were on Dec. 1 and Dec. 12.

— Bay City News Service

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by just say no
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 5, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Excessive smoke in the air is a health problem for many if not most people. Please don't light up on sunny days. At least on rainy days, the rain will help keep the air (relatively) clean.

Like this comment
Posted by Kumar
a resident of another community
on Jan 6, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Can some one post numbers. How much smog is caused by a pack of cigarretes, jet engines, so forth.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

After 39 years of cakes and pastries, Palo Alto institution Prolific Oven to close
By Elena Kadvany | 58 comments | 18,452 views

Local Transit to the Rescue?
By Sherry Listgarten | 21 comments | 2,838 views

The Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) Process Explained
By Steve Levy | 18 comments | 1,759 views

"You Gotta Have Balls [to do counseling] . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,577 views

Eating Green on the Green – August 25
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 663 views


Register now!

‚ÄčOn Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

More Info