Winter Spare the Air Alert Issued for Wednesday January 2, 2013

January 1, 2013 18:02 pm · 38 comments

A Winter Spare the Air Alert has been issued for Wednesday, January 2, 2013, in the Bay Area.

Wood burning is banned both indoors and outdoors on January 2, 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.

Killjoy January 1, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Of COURSE it’s a Spare the Air day. It’s supposed to be colder than a Witch’s Tit tomorrow!

Secret ? January 1, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Looking at Pacific Satellite, onshore flow is just not there.
What’s sad is the gross lack of Public Relations/Notifications and Public Education. Given the amounts of money lavished on salaries would expected them to be better communicators.

The Real McCoy January 1, 2013 at 7:43 PM

Well, time to fire up the smoker and burn some tires and otherwise show what a brave, patriotic jackass I am by taking a Spare the Air day as an purposeful intrusion on my rights rather than chalking it up to stagnant air!

Cherrywood January 1, 2013 at 8:01 PM

No I won’t follow. Burning all day long. I don’t work my ass off cutting and splitting firewood for nothing. I have an EPA certified wood stove. Those bastards can pay my PG&E bill if they don’t want me to burn.

Police State January 1, 2013 at 8:11 PM

This is so ridiculous. Yet we just laugh. Who’s up for fighting this ? Where can we come together to let these idiots know we don’t want this ?

Ideas anyone?

Bubba January 1, 2013 at 8:16 PM

Heil, Mien Fuhrer.
The air Nazi’s strike again!

Anon January 1, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Pretty soon they will decide they don’t like your religion and we all know where that leads.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Josmo January 1, 2013 at 9:18 PM

Why do they always pick the coldest days? Thank god for all the rain we’ve had. If north county has bad air why do we in another area have to comply? Its just plain wrong!

And Jan 3rd will be spare the nose picking day January 1, 2013 at 9:34 PM

Yawn…I hate this state…

Duck January 1, 2013 at 9:55 PM

FML !!!!!

Dano January 1, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Spare the air………how about spare my air.
Alot of our air is being wastefully consumed by government breathing.
I say cut OFF their air.

Safety Second January 1, 2013 at 10:26 PM

So, whatever happened to all the “bad air” from previous Spare The Air Days? What exactly does BAAQMD do with that dirty air? Where do they dispose of it? Silly me always thought Mother Nature cleaned the air, even after toxic volcano eruptions. I am so grateful that highly paid bureaucrats are able to dispose of dirty air and give us smog-free days 99% of the year. Please raise my taxes so BAAQMD can give us even more cleaner air!!!

Dano January 1, 2013 at 11:07 PM

I can imagine sitting in a wood heated home watching pay per view shows of past polititians wandering the streets in search of employment.
Aaaah….popping popcorn over my backyard wood firepit.

Obey January 1, 2013 at 11:26 PM

Don’t be surprised if it goes until Saturday.

Johnny rats January 2, 2013 at 12:39 AM

Yes people its so bad to have clean air for a day.

Well I will be out tomorrow looking for you burners!!

I love this it’s fun

happysmasher January 2, 2013 at 12:43 AM

Well said!

Polluter January 2, 2013 at 1:26 AM

So that means the refineries are shut down those days too, right? Because surely they pollute the air much more every single day than a few homes trying to warm up on a cold day??

The Real McCoy January 2, 2013 at 1:47 AM

Mr. Mayor, thanks for posting these alerts even though the comments usually make me lose faith in humanity. January 2, 2013 at 8:54 AM

@The Real McCoy, LOL, you’re welcome. 🙂

Thanks for the note, Mayor

Killjoy January 2, 2013 at 6:02 AM

Want to REALLY Spare the Air? Make smoking illegal.

cheetabob1 January 2, 2013 at 6:49 AM

this is why i have guns!!!!!!

B January 2, 2013 at 7:31 AM

Does this mean the refinaries will be shut down?

nytemuvr January 2, 2013 at 7:40 AM

@Killjoy #1
….or a well digger’s ass, 26 degrees north of Sac right now

anonymous January 2, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Mother and I are a bit over 80. We live on a small fixed income and dont take help from anyone. Our house is old, too and doesn’t have much insulation. PGand E payments in the winter are a big part of our income and we have a small fire in the morning and evening and sit close to it to stay warm. Now we can’t.

We do have a bit over $2,000,000 in the safe deposit box in gold coins and I dont want to touch our savings but it looks like we will have to.

MikeT January 2, 2013 at 8:32 AM

I’m with CherryWood # 4

Bobfished January 2, 2013 at 9:00 AM

This Spare the Air is such a farce and at this time I don’t know how to stop it. We can use electricity that is expensive and even dirtier than wood. Of course it’s dirtier in someone else town where they have to burn the coal to generate the electricity or in the town where families have to go into the mines and get the coal. We can use natural gas that comes from fracturing the earth to let the gas escape but again that is in someone else’s town. See, all these people that are against wood burning don’t care if someone else has to suffer to provide their gas and electricity, not to mention the making of billionaires. We all know what we have to do to protect our precious petroleum in the Middle East. We have the capability to burn wood cleanly but it will not make many billionaires! It will save lives and precious resources.

carb January 2, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Just in case you might be thinking CARB was done making life in CA interesting. And the woman in charge may soon be doing for the entire nation what’s been done to CA.

Travis Bickle January 2, 2013 at 10:27 AM

@ #15:

My invitation to you from the previous alert still stands. Had my fireplace and smoker going nearly all day, yet you never stopped by. Don’t you want to meet my dog?

Let's Go Oakland January 2, 2013 at 11:54 AM

You can have a fire as long as you are cooking something on it. I had my bbq pit going for several hours yesterday. Burned half a dozen oak logs. There’s nothing illegal about it.

From the website: “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.”

RanchgirlCA January 2, 2013 at 2:43 PM

So glad we put a gas insert since last winter. It’s nice to ignore this Spare the Air crap. We could BBQ in protest though…


There must be a bunch of back-woods, toothless hillbillies living in the suburbs of Claycord and you people are a bunch of crybabies! Wood smoke makes people sick! The smoke from a wood burning stove releases pollutants, mainly in the form of toxic gases and particle pollution. Numerous studies have linked particle levels to an increase in emergency room visits, hospital admissions, and even death from heart and lung disease. Particulate matter can be breathed deep into the lungs. Once trapped there, it can damage the cells, making breathing more difficult and worsening heart and lung conditions.
Long-term effects of smoke from wood burning stoves has been linked to:
•A decline in lung function
•Chronic bronchitis
•Premature death
Not only does smoke from wood burning stoves create long-term health concerns, but it is also associated with the following short-term health effects:
•Aggravates lung disease
•Increases risk of asthma attacks
•Causes acute bronchitis
•Increases the risk of respiratory infections, particularly pneumonia and bronchiolitis
•Worsens allergies
•Worsens breathing

Bobfished January 2, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Long term use of petroleum products leads to war, global warming, ozone which also causes everything you mention and more, water pollution (BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, PG&E to name just a couple. The fact remains that technology can enable the clean burning of wood but our friends at the above mentioned companies will make no profit from that. Mining and burning coal causes death!,!!!!!! Fracking the earth for natural Gas and shale pollutes water( Monongahela River Pennsylvania) for example. These are just facts!
Wood is a renewable energy source that can be burned cleanly.


You must be one of the toothless hillbillies I talked about. Your argument sucks! You live in California! Can you tell me if you know of anyone who uses “petroleum products” or “Coal” to heat a home? Most of the wood burning is still done in an open fireplace or out of date woodstove. People who burn wood do so because it is a cheep way to meat a home, do you think they will pay more money to burn clean? A well insulated home and Natural gas is the only answer to heat one’s home. There is no reason to use fracking to get access to natural gas, there is plenty available without using it. Don’t worry, you can use natural gas to heat you moonshine still or cook your porcupine pie.

Bobfished January 2, 2013 at 4:18 PM

How about natural gas! A petroleum product! Go to google and type in ” is natural gas a petroleum product”

Bobfished January 2, 2013 at 4:31 PM

The term petroleum comes from the Latin stems petra, “rock,” and oleum, “oil.” It is used to describe a broad range of hydrocarbons that are found as gases, liquids, or solids beneath the surface of the earth. The two most common forms are natural gas and crude oil.

Natural gas is a mixture of lightweight alkanes. A typical sample of natural gas when it is collected at its source contains 80% methane (CH4), 7% ethane (C2H6), 6% propane (C3H8), 4% butane and isobutane (C4H10), and 3% pentanes (C5H12). The C3, C4, and C5 hydrocarbons are removed before the gas is sold. The commercial natural gas delivered to the customer is therefore primarily a mixture of methane and ethane. The propane and butanes removed from natural gas are usually liquefied under pressure and sold as liquefied petroleum gases

Killjoy January 2, 2013 at 6:24 PM


You just described what cigarette smoke does to me.
Yet that’s not illegal.

Over55 January 2, 2013 at 7:17 PM

Our tax dollars at work… A janitor makes $23-30/hr at BAAQ! Our California Legislature created the Air District in 1955, before I was born! What an informative website:

RanchgirlCA January 4, 2013 at 10:33 AM

As for banning wood fires for good, would you like to foot the bill to convert everyones woodburning fireplaces to gas? I can tell you, its expensive. I’ve got the bills to prove it. Not that I’m complaining. I knew it would be costly, but we were able to finally do it. I’m sure not everyone can afford the expense, so… burn away if you choose. There’s nothing like a fire, especially during the holidays.

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