Air quality district issues Spare the Air alert for Saturday


The Bay Area Air Quality Management District today 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."

Using fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or any other device that burns wood is illegal during a Spare the Air Alert, air district officials said.

First-time violators will be fined $100 or they must take a wood smoke awareness class. A second violation results in a $500 fine and the fines for subsequent violations are more.

Homes with wood stoves or fireplaces as the only source of heat are exempt until Nov. 1 when the wood-burning device must be Environmental Protection Agency certified and registered with the air district, according to air district officials.

Residents must check for Spare the Air Alerts before burning at [ or [ spare or at 877-4-NO-BURN. Residents can also check by signing up for AirAlerts at [ or for phone alerts at 800-430-1515.

Residents can also check on apps for iPhone and Android phones.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


4 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 1, 2016 at 5:53 pm

Please don't light up unless it is raining. You should have plenty of opportunities in this El Nino winter. Please help keep the air clean and our kids healthy on sunny days. Thank you.

1 person likes this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jan 1, 2016 at 6:12 pm

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by @HUTCH 7.62
a resident of another community
on Jan 1, 2016 at 6:14 pm

[Post removed.]

3 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jan 1, 2016 at 7:13 pm

[Post removed.]

9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Ohlone School
on Jan 1, 2016 at 9:15 pm

Palo Alto should just plain make it illegal to burn wood or anything else in the fireplace because it's simply bad air pollution and those who burn are selfish people who are only concerned with their own mental comfort.

1 person likes this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 2, 2016 at 1:47 pm

I find those spare-the-air alert ridiculous, although I know they are not issued by the city of Palo Alto, when gardeners are allowed to openly defy the gas leaf blower ban. Perhaps one in twenty gardeners use electric blowers, if that.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2016 at 9:03 am

I have decided that these Spare the Air Days are a farce of Government since they don't pay any attention to them themselves. One day during the summer Spare the Air alert, our utilities sent tree trimmers to our street. There were several cherry pickers with at least 5 chain saws and a chipping machine working continuously for the best part of the day, all day long. The saw dust from the wood plus the fumes from the machines was in the air well into the evening hours and we had the noise to put up with also. If the government want its citizens to take heed of these then they should start by setting a good example. What they had done in one day was ten times worse than my car, or my barbeque grill, or my lawnmower would have done that day.

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

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Peek inside the fine-dining Selby's, opening in Redwood City this summer
By Elena Kadvany | 6 comments | 4,556 views

If you do nothing else, do These Three Things
By Sherry Listgarten | 16 comments | 1,561 views

Homestead Faire at Hidden Villa 4/27
By Laura Stec | 7 comments | 1,298 views

Premarital and Couples: "You're Not Listening to Me!" may mean "I don't feel heard."
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,196 views

Finding Balance
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 138 views


Vote now!

It's time once again to cast your vote for the best places to eat, drink, shop and spend time in Palo Alto. Voting is open now through May 27. Watch for the results of our 2019 Best Of contest on Friday, July 19.