News

Air district urges public to avoid burning wood

Bay Area skies must recover from holiday-weekend smoke pollution, district says

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is asking the public to refrain from burning wood today (Tuesday, Dec. 27).

While district officials have not issued a Spare the Air alert, they are recommending that residents refrain from burning wood to allow Bay Area skies to recover from unhealthy levels of smoke pollution from the holiday weekend.

District spokeswoman Lisa Fasano said the smoke pollution was well over a healthy standard this weekend and the cold, still weather expected Tuesday is keeping the condition stagnant.

"It's taking longer than we'd hope for air to blow out," Fasano said.

Spare the Air alerts were in effect this weekend, however Fasano said patrols were out monitoring residents and violations occurred. According to Fasano, the district has logged about 285 potential violations since the Winter Spare the Air season began on Nov. 1.

During the winter months, wood smoke is the leading cause of air pollution in the Bay Area, according to district officials. Wood smoke contains harmful pollutants such as soot and carbon monoxide and toxins such as dioxin, which has been linked to increased cancer rates in adults.

More information about the ban can be found at www.sparetheair.org or by calling 877-4NO-BURN. Those wishing to receive automatic phone calls when a Winter Spare the Air alert is issued can register by calling (800) 430-1515.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Smoke Choked
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 27, 2011 at 11:00 am

Its time to start writing tickets. Lets start counting CITATIONS not violations.

How can we turn in those who are burning during Spare The Air Days?


Like this comment
Posted by Smoke Choked
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 27, 2011 at 11:03 am

Found this: You can remain anonymous:

Wood Smoke Complaints: 1-877-4NO-BURN (466-2876)
For complaints about wood burning or woodsmoke, backyard burning (non-cooking fires only), burning of trash, please complete the online wood burning complaint form or call the 24 hour toll-free wood burning complaint line: 1-877-4NO-BURN (1-877-466-2876).


Like this comment
Posted by David Schrom
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 27, 2011 at 11:16 am

From Russian Ridge on Thursday the 22nd, the air was so clear that I felt almost able to reach out and touch Mt. Diablo. From Windy Hill Christmas Day, I was barely able to see Fremont through the wood smoke. I wish I had photos, because I'm confident that people burning wood will stop once see what they're doing and think about its consequences for everyone's health.


Like this comment
Posted by burning
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 27, 2011 at 11:30 am

My eyes were burning just walking around midtown this morning. If wood burning is so dangerous, why don't they ban it every day?


Like this comment
Posted by alltu
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Dec 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm

too much smoke. thats really true. smoke something else if you have tu smoke. but dont burn anything. radio music is good enough. for excitement.


Like this comment
Posted by BurnThis
a resident of another community
on Dec 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Hmmm, me freeze to death - or you get to breath easier on a cold day. Which one should I choose?


Like this comment
Posted by Scrouge
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Yeah, rat on your neighbors for burning a Yule log on Christmas.
Bah Humbug


Like this comment
Posted by Magicdraggin
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 27, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Freeze to death, indoors in Calif? Sheesh, what an exaggeration. Put on a sweater!


Like this comment
Posted by burning
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 27, 2011 at 10:21 pm

The air pollution people say they've gotten over 2000 complaints about illegal fires so far this month. Fines are $400 each. If you plan to light up, please post your address. I'm sure the government can use your money. Thank you.


Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 27, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Let he among you who does not exhale CO2 cast the first complaint.


Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 28, 2011 at 7:47 am

Every time I walk on a street with cars I almost lose my cookies from the car fumes. For my sake, we need to ban all cars.

We need to ban wildfires, also.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2011 at 8:51 am

Rather than banning all fires on certain days, it would make much more sense to ban wood fires all the time and only allow smoke free fuel. This would seem to be a hardship at first, but as people got used to burning the smoke free stuff it would soon become the norm.

London used to have smog problems but back in the 60s they started banning all but smokeless fuels and the air there is no longer a problem.


Like this comment
Posted by Scrooge
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm

"but back in the 60s they started banning all but smokeless fuels"

You are right, bikes only then


Like this comment
Posted by burning
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 28, 2011 at 6:04 pm

The scrooges are the people choking their neighbors with smoke during the holidays.


Like this comment
Posted by Scrooge
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Agreed, ride a bike.


Like this comment
Posted by Scrooge
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Agreed, ride a bike.


Like this comment
Posted by Choker
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 29, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Tell the asthmatic kids in your area that you're too damn selfish to do without your precious real wood fire during the holidays. Belch your poison into the air in the spirit of brotherly love and compassion for your fellow man
Then, after you're done with that...Evolve.


Like this comment
Posted by Scrooge
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Perhaps you should look to what changes you can make in your own life rather than demanding change of others.


Like this comment
Posted by Scrooge
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Perhaps you should look to what changes you can make in your own life rather than demanding change of others.


Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 29, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Asthmatic kids. 0.000001% of the population. Have Obama Care buy them bottled oxygen, but don't ask the other 99.999999% to give up anything.

Lets see, the 0.000001% telling the 99.99999% what to do, and who is selfish?

Have A Happy New Year ;)


Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 30, 2011 at 8:26 am

Unfortunately, the CDC lists the percentage of children with asthma is 9.4%. Outside Observer was off by a factor of 10 million!

Web Link

This is not a minor problem despite people's attempts to make it so.


Like this comment
Posted by Scrooge
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2011 at 9:18 am

The point is their are a lot of activities that cause this problem, yet only one is mentioned. That's like trying to stop litter by banning fast-food containers. Let me know how many people are burning wood during summer when we have spare the air days. This should help you to understand there are many sources of pollution. Focusing only on wood burning only illustrates a lack of knowledge or perhaps political will to highlight all sources or solutions.


Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 30, 2011 at 10:04 am

Scrooge: In summer many people have barbecues and outdoor wood burners.

Yes, there are many sources of pollution. Burning wood is especially damaging to health because there are lots of particulates in the smoke. "A growing body of scientific research shows that microscopic particles of soot can penetrate deep into lungs and cause deadly exacerbations of lung and cardiac illnesses. About 60,000 Americans die annually from illnesses caused by particulates."

“We have measured air pollution inside a house that’s 10 times higher than the allowable federal level when people are burning a fire in their house,” she said. “So they’re putting their family and guests in just as much jeopardy as their neighbors when they’re burning a fire.”

Web Link

Should we just ignore all sources of pollution because we can't cure them all at once? We've got to start somewhere.

Take a deep breath and have a healthy new year.


Like this comment
Posted by Scrooge
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2011 at 10:13 am

So perhaps restricting wood burning to wood stoves and fire place inserts that don't have these issues is what you might want to propose. Some people do burn wood for heat, not just aesthetics.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 30, 2011 at 10:49 am

Thank you, Donald - I thought the the figures for asthma were higher. There are also a number of adults whose onset of asthma is post-childhood - & I'm not just talking smokers, either.

I'm glad it rained last night - I hope it clears the air a bit.


Like this comment
Posted by smokey
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 30, 2011 at 11:37 am

It is raining today. Go ahead and light your fires. Please put it out when the rain stops. Your children and your neighbors' children will thank you.


Like this comment
Posted by Scrooge
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2011 at 12:02 pm

The thing you don't get is 50 to 90% of the air pollution is cars and trucks. Also while we were not allowing wood burning ag burning in neighboring counties was being allowed. Besides being sanctimonious on Palo alto online is not going to bring about compliance. The views on this thread are way too few to have any impact. Both you and I are just wasting our time.


Like this comment
Posted by smokey
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Maybe 90% of air pollution comes from cars during the summer, but definitely not during the winter. Did you read the material on the Spare The Air web site?


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

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