Winter Spare the Air Alert Issued for Tuesday January 1, 2013 (New Year’s Day)

December 31, 2012 15:00 pm · 78 comments

A Winter Spare the Air Alert has been issued for Tuesday, January 1, 2013, in the Bay Area.

Wood burning is banned both indoors and outdoors on January 1, 2013, for the full 24 hours.

Air quality in the Bay Area is forecast to be unhealthy. It is illegal for Bay Area residents to burn wood or other solid fuels in fireplaces, wood stoves and inserts, pellet stoves, outdoor fire-pits, or other wood-burning devices. This wood-burning ban will be in effect for Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, southern Sonoma and southwestern Solano Counties. (Visit to see if your city is located within the Air District.)

Winter air pollution is mainly caused by particulates or soot pollution from wood smoke. Smoke from wood-burning fires is linked to illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and lung disease, and is especially harmful for children and the elderly.

For more information about the Wood Burning Rule, or to check before you burn, visit or call 1-877-4NO-BURN.

You can also call 1-800-430-1515 and register to receive automatic phone calls when a Winter Spare the Air Alert has been called.

To see the current air quality forecast visit

Download our FREE Spare the Air iPhone/Android application for alert notifications, local air quality forecasts, podcasts and several tools to help reduce air pollution.

Thank you for doing your part to Spare the Air!

This AirAlert is provided by your Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Keen Observation December 31, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Bovine flatulence must be controlled, we need a flatulence tax to discourage carnivorous humans from polluting.

Ricardo December 31, 2012 at 3:12 PM

The fireplace Nazi’s are at it again. Soon as they join the TSA it will be like the brown shirts and the SS all over again.

J. December 31, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Oh, no, here we go, again.

jj December 31, 2012 at 3:28 PM

a extra log going in tonite

KenInConcord December 31, 2012 at 3:28 PM

What a bunch of A-holes

anon December 31, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Thank you to Claycord for posting this information and thank you for Claycord citizens for honoring the AirAlert. It makes a life and death difference to me and my helps my ability to breathe and live. I have a lung disease that is made worse by the particulate matter that results from the wonderful fireplace fires that we all enjoy so much. I can die from the particulate generated by those beautiful fires, diesel fumes, smoky cars that are not kept up by their owners and smokers that group at entrances and exits of buildings. I have never smoked and have not led a poor lifestyle that resulted in my lung disease and appreciate the opportunity to live longer. Thank you, again, and Happy New Year! 🙂

KooKooKaChoo December 31, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Yawn, BBQ’ing tonight and tomorrow afternoon – Also mowing lawn in a few. Come and get me.

Really, do we need to know this stuff? No one cares. Seriously.

Cowellian December 31, 2012 at 3:43 PM

There is a very long list of things that I miss from the Bay Area, but the Bay Area Air Quality Management District isn’t one of them.

Slugga December 31, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Thank God that people are valiantly standing up to a police state and fighting for our freedom and that of generations yet born with razor-sharp witticisms.

Winter holidays should be exempt! December 31, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Christmas and New Year’s Day should be exempt from this! They should make it the day prior, or the day after!

anon December 31, 2012 at 4:02 PM

#6 – Well isn’t it lovely that you support the use of violence to protect your precious health. Won’t you just feel warm and fuzzy when the cops beat down the door of some wood burner, taze his wife, shoot the dog, and drag the man to a cage for his despicable “crime”.

MikeT December 31, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Is this not the same group that claimed the refinery fire last summer in Richmond, that they checked on, gave out no gases or particulates over the legal limit, yet thousands of people got sick? Now they would have you believe that my wood burner will kill anything in a 12 block radius. Give me a fricken break….

Fred P. December 31, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Whatchya gonna do when they come for you????

Toss another log on the fire….

Keen Observation December 31, 2012 at 3:11 PM December 31, 2012 at 4:11 PM

Bovine flatulence?

Hell they got nothin on me

Let's Go Oakland December 31, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Just so everyone knows, it’s not illegal to burn wood, coal, or propane if you are cooking. Heck, you can run a 12 hour smoker if you want to. I’m probably going to burn a bunch of oak tomorrow and do up some Santa Maria style Tri Tip!

The Real McCoy December 31, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Sorry #6, but you don’t get to force YOUR health condition on the rest of us. Our property rights trump your so called “right” to be healthy. If you don’t like the air here, MOVE.

Control December 31, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Bay Area divided into 5 zones as is the case most times North Counties and
Santa Clara Valley will be the only two problem areas. Claycord as usual is forecast to be well below the two problem areas on the other side of the hills.
In looking at their raw don’t see entries for Concord.
In the valley they allow EPA certified pellet stoves, but after all lets remember the Bay Area is “Special”.

@Cowellian December 31, 2012 at 4:35 PM

That’s right, just, rub it in . . . .
Good for You, am hoping to get out of Taxifornia a couple years after I retire.
Was it hard getting used to the humidity?

Cowellian December 31, 2012 at 4:53 PM

There is no getting used to the humidity. My A/C ran nonstop from May through early October.

I put a TV in the fireplace.... December 31, 2012 at 4:57 PM

with the Burning Log Video. Some people don’t even notice.

Shasta Daisy December 31, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Cowellian is right about humidity. I lived in Tennessee for 10 years and NEVER got used to it.

California Girl.

BAAQMD Hater December 31, 2012 at 5:11 PM

This is a slippery slope people. Next this UNELECTED board will decide they don’t like your religion and you know what happens next.

The concentration camps go up.

Shasta Daisy December 31, 2012 at 5:12 PM

Cowellian….do you still have my email address?

Drop me a note sometime. I wrote to you but it was returned.

Palermo December 31, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Tell this to my neighbor who is continuously burning up old fences, latticework, etc. God knows what we are breathing most of the time.

UrAmericanBrother December 31, 2012 at 5:28 PM

If a fireplace is the only source of heat for your family, it is legal to use. In the county of Contra Costa at least. Same goes for outdoor fires. If you have no source of heat for cooking, or for heating, then you are able to use fires on AirAlert days.

Burn, baby, BURN!!!!

Triple Canopy December 31, 2012 at 5:29 PM

The annual bonfire WILL be raging…wood burning is banned eh? Hmm. I’ve got a few old tires laying around.

Suck it BAAQMD!!!!!

UrAmericanBrother December 31, 2012 at 5:35 PM

@15 Wood stoves for cooking are allowed only in cases where there is no alternative choices of cooking in the residence.

This is all a bunch of crap really. We are forced into spending our income on heating utilities in order to perpetuate the economy, that is what it comes down to. The same reasons county’s and city’s in this country ban gardening, to force their populace into complacency with the mainstream economic model.

Buy this, buy this, buy this.

CN December 31, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Politicians, like diapers, should be replaced regularly, for the same reason.

@anon 11 December 31, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Doesn’t that happen already?

Cherrywood December 31, 2012 at 5:48 PM

That’s BS. Another holiday. Not happy about it and won’t follow the rule.

Green is the new Red December 31, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Im leaving this state as soon as I can. I employ 30 people here. So, there ya go. Great job you liberal, socialist good for nothing idiots.

Parsnip December 31, 2012 at 5:51 PM

And the ones thumping their chests like gorillas are nothing more than spider monkeys:
“But leaf blowers wake me uppppp!” “The neighbor’s dog keeps baaaarking!” “Their block party keeps me awaaaake!” “His motorcycle is looooud!”

@anon 16 December 31, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Totally disagree. If you want to live in a neighborhood with 10,000 square foot lots you need to be considerate of the people around you. If not, take grandpa Amos, Kate, Luke, and Pepino and head to West Virginny.

anon December 31, 2012 at 6:05 PM

oh, 14 that’s sexy.

anon December 31, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Woops. Forgot to hit my sarcasm font.

lake December 31, 2012 at 7:08 PM

This would make sense if it was also against the law to smoke on spare the air days. This would really make it a spare the air day!

Cowellian December 31, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Hi Shasta,
I sent you an email, but if anybody wants to get in touch with me, just click my name on any of my posts. That will take you to my wordpress page with links to my email and to the

Cape Cod Resident December 31, 2012 at 7:30 PM

It is very seldom that I respond on Claycord. However, can someone tell me just who decides it’s a “spare the air day!” ? Are they connected to PG&E? Wow, it has been close to freezing for weeks, my heater is set to 59 degrees at night and no more than 65 during the day and my PG&E bill is over $100.00. How old are these people telling me what I can and cannot do…. I’ve survived over 50 years without them!

Lee White December 31, 2012 at 8:57 PM

So be sure not to burn your fireplace on New Year’s Day. There won’t be enough of a sea breeze to push the air pollution into the San Joaquin Valley where the people are expendable. That’s why the “air narcs” will be out in full force writing tickets so that the people in the Bay Area, who are more equal than others, won’t have to breathe foul air.

Larrabee December 31, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Never start a fire with angry wood; use kindling.

oh yay December 31, 2012 at 9:58 PM

My furnace is on the fritz and i cant get it fixed for a while. Darn cold in here.

Anonymous December 31, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Item 1 Concord PD will not participate in the enforcement of this crap.

Item 2 If they come to the door don’t answer it. They can’t write a ticket to a house. Has to be a person.

Item 3 I do not believe the poster who complains about their lung condition .There are five refineries in this area . I’d move if it meant my life.

Duck December 31, 2012 at 10:16 PM

Just tell the air police the heater is broken !
It’s not like they will be kicking down the front door to do a spot check.
Suck my butt’s air police !

Johnny rats December 31, 2012 at 10:24 PM

I will be driving around tomorrow in highlands, Dana Clayton and walnut creek looking for smoking fireplaces tomorrow.

I’m not a city employee I’m a regular guy that is annoyed by the idiocy of te commenters here.

I see smoke tomorrow and I am going to report you.


Amy December 31, 2012 at 10:49 PM

The fireplace police. Reminds me of Nazi Germany.

Fred P. December 31, 2012 at 10:51 PM


The BAAQMD is not connected to PG&E in any way, shape or form. They’re just a bunch of appointed (non-elected) bureaucrats who get to decide what you can/can’t do.

Throw ’em OUT!

Travis Bickle December 31, 2012 at 11:18 PM


I’ll give you my address if you promise to knock when you see my smoke. I’ll give you a big smooch – while my dog chews you a new a**hole.

Duck December 31, 2012 at 11:54 PM

@47 don’t blow smoke up his A$$ ,he will report you !

Vindex January 1, 2013 at 1:21 AM


David January 1, 2013 at 2:55 AM

while i did not read all of the posts, all the ones i read no one had anything nice to say about baarb. SO WHEN ARE WE GOING TO STAND UP AND TELL THE BAARB TO GET OFF? when are we going to say we have had enough of this bs from a board that IS NOT EVEN VOTED IN. but they can make laws to fine us. does anyone but me see a major problem with that?

Parsnip January 1, 2013 at 5:38 AM

@#42 — “Item 2 If they come to the door don’t answer it. They can’t write a ticket to a house. Has to be a person.”

Are you saying that cars never had to accept those meter maid tickets for illegal parking?

no handle January 1, 2013 at 6:53 AM

Sorry , did not get the notice in the mail.

Cowellian January 1, 2013 at 8:17 AM

There are a lot of familiar names here.

BAAQMD Board of Directors:

DoReMi January 1, 2013 at 8:21 AM

I am just as annoyed with the Spare the Air Day as everyone else. But I don’t burn fires in my fireplace and I stopped having campfires 20 years ago.

None of this would be necessary if we would cut back the illegal run accross our borders. Americans have stopped overbreeding for the most part, but what do our Congress do??? The encourage illegals to stay because … we don’t have enough tax payers to line their coffers.

Bobfished January 1, 2013 at 8:39 AM

They BAAQMD could not even measure particulate matter during the Chevron fire? They use meteorologist to “forcast” particulate matter. The BAAQMD says 1/3 of winter air pollution is from wood fires. They do this by splitting petroleum burning into several categories like trucks, big cars, little cars, planes, boats etc….
The BAAQMD always scares people by saying there are 1.4 million fireplaces in the Bay Area. They never say that most of those are not used, look around your neighborhood.
Johnny rats will be burning petroleum looking for wood burners! Chevron and PG&E thank him!

ale January 1, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Why does everyone feel the need to jump on the the internet and show the world how ignorant they really are. Do you all just love smog and pollution or are you just so selfish that a fire in your fireplace tonight is more important than preventing problems?

Parsnip January 1, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Though I understand how the smoke affects asthmatics, is a pollutant, etc., (it doesn’t bother me and I don’t use the fireplace), I have to laugh at the girly-girls and girly-boys who have to light a Duraflame when the temp gets down to a frigid 48 degrees.

Earn the hair on your chests. Go mid-West or back East for a week.

Bobfished January 1, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Wood s a renewable energy source! Instead of banning the use of wood the BAAQMD should encourage the use of wood and let technology develop cleaner burning stoves. There are already EPA certified stoves that pollute very little. Technology could develop even cleaner burning stoves. The only reason the BAAQMD does not want to go this directions is that it will cut into the profits of petroleum sellers.

concord original January 1, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Happy to read that most of the public feels like i do on this issue, i’m so tired of getting nickel and dimed by this state, if the real issue was AIR QUALITY they’d go after the big fish, not us tax paying working class. A typical of calif politics – penalize the many to appease the few (people with respitory problems)

No Parsnip January 1, 2013 at 11:05 AM

A parking ticket can be written to a vehicle. Often are. To help you understand better a car has what we call a license plate. If they write a parking ticket its the registered owners problem. DMV gets all nasty about re registering the car if you dont pay it. Thats the law.

You can’t write a ticket to a house. If they come to the door and no one answers there isn’t much they can do. Of course they could write a search warrant and get a cop too serve it, which Concord PD wont do. Nore would any other PD with common sense.

View From The Center January 1, 2013 at 12:15 PM

You know you live in a Country run by idiots if being self-sufficient is considered a threat to the government.

Smokey January 1, 2013 at 12:23 PM

I generally understand the need for SPA days, but today looks like a blown call. I’m not a meteorologist, but I’m not feeling the inversion layer or the stagnant air.

Really!!?? January 1, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Oh, just saw this after I have had a fire going ALL NIGHT. Will keep it going though, it’s cold outside. Oh, and by the way, did you tell this to the refinery as well?

Parsnip January 1, 2013 at 1:02 PM

@#61 — “To help you understand better a car has what we call a license plate.”

Oh my gosh … you mean that homes don’t have addresses??.

I think you need to pass your wisdom (albeit finite)
about violations to BAAQMD. But I’d encourage you to read up on them first:

just a thought January 1, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Unless they are riding bicycles or driving electric cars searching for offenders,doesnt it kind of defeat their logic for a spare the air day?Gee I wonder if they get holliday pay for their service?

PC....Pahlease! January 1, 2013 at 1:58 PM

@ale #57

Those of us who are not supporters of Spare the Air Days are not “lovers of smog and pollution”. That comment just shows that you are the typical arrogant, smug, my poop-don’t-stink “Progressive” that have taken over the Bay Area Poli-tricks.

What is offensive is the creation of a Fascist non-elected committee that shoves it’s Extreme-Far-Left anti-Corporation anti-Business Environmentalist Religion down our throats.

Dear Parsnip January 1, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Read your reference. So what? Still have to have a responsible person to cite. How does that happen without evidence ? Smoke coming out of a chimney means what? Who started it? How you gonna prove that without witnesses or a confession? Think the DA or the cops have got time to help?Think again. I repeat dont come to the door when the cloven hooves knock.

Bubba January 1, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Can we still smoke medical marijuana?
Gee, maybe IT HURT MY LUNGS!

Bubba January 1, 2013 at 2:57 PM

I’m going to burn a bunch of old tires tonight and throw hand grenades at the “GESTOPO” when they come for me.
Enough of this crap.
I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore! It’s time to TAKE BACK our government.

Dutch January 1, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Well people, you voted the “A-holes” in. Now deal with it.

opie January 1, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Great lets start the new year out right with more BS regulation. I forgot to tell the BAAQMD, I”M burning tonight-screw you.

Parsnip January 1, 2013 at 4:16 PM

#68 — “Still have to have a responsible person to cite. How does that happen without evidence? … Who started it? How you gonna prove that without witnesses or a confession?”

Oh, please. It’s not a murder case. It’s liability upon the homeowner.

Insofar as not answering doors, do you know how else people get cited? Certified mail. Whether they respond or “received it” matters not. All that’s needed is verification that it was sent.

Put it test, No Handle. Go ahead and burn a log. And keep doing it. I just hope you are in good relations with your neighbor or people simply driving past your house who feel like doing this:

Bubba January 1, 2013 at 4:31 PM

@# 71
I still have a Romney sticker on my car and I am going to leave it there as to say “DON’T BLAME ME I DIDN’T VOTE LIBERAL”!

Bobfished January 1, 2013 at 4:51 PM

83 year old resident of Point Richmond was givin a ticket for burning a Duraflame log. The man lives across the street from the Chevron Refinery!

Freebird January 1, 2013 at 9:05 PM

These nazis tried to fine me up to 1million bucks for a supposed fire 4 years ago Christmas.

I took time off work to meet 6 state paid employees at small claims court. These pathetic losers were as unprepared as they could be. They had a ‘smoke-a-tologist’. Yet another left wing idiot.

Ya, the judge agrees with me. No fine.

Parsnip January 2, 2013 at 5:01 AM

@Freebird #76 — A “one million dollar” attempted fine settled in small claims? (Where the maximum claim can be $10,000?). You’re puffing on the wrong smoke, Freebird.

Connie Dobbs January 2, 2013 at 8:30 AM

I hate California nazis.

Let's Go Oakland January 2, 2013 at 12:04 PM


Read. Learn about what you wish to comment on. Then comment.

“Fires for cooking are not prohibited during Winter Spare the Air Alerts, but we ask the public to be mindful of air quality, and recommend the use of gas and propane barbecues rather than wood or charcoal-fired cooking devices on these days.”

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