Thursday: Another Spare the Air Alert Issued in the San Francisco Bay Area

January 16, 2013 15:00 pm · 63 comments

A Winter Spare the Air Alert has been issued for Thursday, January 17, 2013, in the Bay Area.

Wood burning is banned both indoors and outdoors on January 17, 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.

Jim January 16, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Thanks again big brother!

Bobfished January 16, 2013 at 3:04 PM

If there were no wood fires there would still be STA days. What do you ban then? Nothing, because all other sources of pm 2.5 burn or produce petroleum products.

anonmtz January 16, 2013 at 3:07 PM

BAAQMD……haters start your pits……Go………..

mwo1859 January 16, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Lets see if I get this right. The coldests days of the year you and your family can not stay warm. Did you know the first option and is standard on all cars is a heater?. Just saying.

Señor Smog January 16, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Guess I’m BBQing again….

Bobfished January 16, 2013 at 3:36 PM

I’m BBQing too! Tri tip!

Señor Smog January 16, 2013 at 3:41 PM

Come to think of it, I might have tuned my hot rod imperfectly. Think I’ll do that too. No wood required…..

New World Order January 16, 2013 at 4:00 PM

C’mon people! Why the rants? Embrace the change. Those family evenings in front of the fireplace are out-moded.

Now you can turn on and be groovy with your kids by legally smoking medical dope in the living room, and, not bum your neighbors with that wood smoke trip.

Wake up!

The Real McCoy January 16, 2013 at 4:12 PM

My poor old grandmother only has a small wood stove to warm her frail little hands by. All she wants out of life is to be able to make tea and cookies for her great-grandchildren, but if she does, the BAAQMD thugs will show up at her house, make her get down on her knees, and execute her with a single bullet to the brain stem. How did we allow ourselves to get to this point? The crackdown on OUR FREEDOM has become so bad that I’m terrified to write this – literally the ONLY thing protecting me is my stash of several hundred assault weapons. But I know it’s only a matter of time befor(*&@#$T^!# NO CARRIER

Intrigued January 16, 2013 at 4:19 PM

@The Real McCoy
Seems you had better give your granny a gun–I know she must be terrified of the BAAQMD thugs. Poor thing.

anon January 16, 2013 at 4:21 PM


New World Order January 16, 2013 at 4:22 PM

@ The Real McCoy. Aw now only people with something to hide need privacy. But…stay out of my bedroom, except if my old lady doesn’t want to pay for contraception – now that’s your role baby.

Indirect inhalation of wood smoke = BAAAAAD SMOKE
Direct inhibition of dope smoke = GOOOOOD SMOKE

Feeling me now baby? It all maaaaaakes sense.

Intrigued January 16, 2013 at 4:23 PM

Pure sarcasm intended………

@11 January 16, 2013 at 4:24 PM

It appears the more people on Earth, the more crowded it gets, the less personal freedoms we will have. Move to Wyoming, you can do everything you want there and it’ won’t effect anyone.

@The Real McCoy January 16, 2013 at 4:33 PM

“My poor old grandmother only has a small wood stove to warm her …”

Are you being intentionally dense? If you have no other heating in your home, you are exempt from STA days.

KAD January 16, 2013 at 4:39 PM

Until I had breathing issues in early July, I thought this was not needed. The smoke from wood fires definitely has an impact on folks with breathing issues. I was outside of my friends house in Gregory Gardens where several of her neighbors, including her, use wood in their fireplaces to keep warm and really could tell the effect of the wood smoke in my lungs. The smoke in the air made it really hard to breathe.

@mwo1859 and fellow haters January 16, 2013 at 4:47 PM

Oh my God! I thought they just said I couldn’t use my fireplace or BBQ, but they’ve actually outlawed heating our homes???? I can’t even use my central heat! I am so glad you told me! Those jackbooted thugs! I bet it’s Obummers fault. You know he’s really a Muslim Nazi Socialist Black Panther spy who hates America and is secretly implementing the Nazi/Communist/Socialist/homosexual agenda. My cousin sent me an email that said so, so I know it’s true. BAAQMD must be a part of the conspiracy. What other possible explanation can there be? I bet they had secret documents on that MDUSD laptop that was stolen that proved global warming is a hoax. It’s The Gary’s fault. It must be part of Obummer’s plan for total world domination. First they come for our fireplaces, then our guns. Just like Hitler. USA = Nazi Germany. I learn so much from the people of Claycord.

The Real McCoy January 16, 2013 at 4:52 PM

@15 – why do you hate freedom? Or do you just not care because you smoke too much of the devil’s lettuce? “Medical” marijuana is allowed because KING OBAMA doesn’t want you to rise up, you know…

Huh? January 16, 2013 at 4:54 PM

#14 – I’ve lived in Claycord since it was mostly rural. Maybe you did too? The only thing that changed is all the rest who came later. I guess that changes my rights – mine shrink while latecomers call the shots.

Maybe I should buy the lots around your house and build a McMansion that surrounds you on 3 sides. You can move to Montana.

Questions January 16, 2013 at 5:02 PM

How can they tell difference between natural gas insert and pellet stove by what’s coming out chimney, neither smoke? These are the same people that couldn’t tell what was going on at Chevron. Can’t find any info on their websites as to what actual readings were in locations in the 5 areas only predicted readings. How is public supposed to believe these people if they’re not willing to put out information to us?
If they are willing to or someone has websites PLEASE Post.

Huh? January 16, 2013 at 5:10 PM

#17 – I see the error of my ways now. Thanks for the help.

Mister Wister January 16, 2013 at 5:10 PM

@The Real McCoy,
Trust me when I tell you that you’re a complete moron.

@19 January 16, 2013 at 5:12 PM

The majority will vote laws into effect that will make you conform to the majority. Stay and you will have to conform to what is acceptable to the rest. If you believe it is a basic right, take them to court.

Huh? January 16, 2013 at 5:20 PM

#23 – silly me. I forgot that STD was voted on and approved by the residents of the Bay Area counties.

The Grant January 16, 2013 at 5:33 PM

plan on grilling tonight and using my fireplace

Parsnip January 16, 2013 at 5:56 PM

@#s 5 & 7 — I’ve heard that nuts lightly pan fried in butter, add a mellow flavor … which you both might as well try considering you’d be freezing them off anyway.

The Real McCoy January 16, 2013 at 6:02 PM

@22 – if you don’t know the definition of the word “gullible” you might want to look in the mirror.

New World Order January 16, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Intrigued – I’d post my stuff but that medical dope smoke makes me forgetful. Turn on and forget that wood smoke, it makes people haters. Trees are people too.

The Real McCoy January 16, 2013 at 6:35 PM

@Intrigued, what do you expect from a DOPE SMOKER

Tredogandi January 16, 2013 at 6:50 PM

As I drove threw the Berkeley hills on the way home from work, it was clear that today’s air quality in our little valley was not good.

A note to all who “love their freedom”. Please be considerate of those who wish to have the “freedom” to breath cleaner air, less polluted by wood-burning fires. Asthma is real….. by the way.

Smokey The Bear January 16, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Do you dumb asses thinking someone burning a fire will be your demise?Time for you to move,get a better doctor,or get a life.

crazytech58 January 16, 2013 at 7:44 PM

I’m SURE that PG&E have nothing to do with “helping” the air quality management team make the call on what days are burn days….. last night and tonight are the coldest ones yet, surely a “no burn” flag would in NO WAY help PG&E make more money, and the COAL and GAS burning power plants are NOT contributing to the air problem

jj January 16, 2013 at 7:45 PM

lots of concern WTF time to reload the woodstove

Where is Steve Weir January 16, 2013 at 7:57 PM

Where is Steve Weir trying to get us to comply with orders?

Steve Weir is the guy who makes sure the Spanish line at the elections office gets answered in 3 seconds while us English speakers are put on hold for an hour or more.

Steve you were all a big supporter of the jack booted Air nazis yesterday. Are the questions getting tough?

New World Order January 16, 2013 at 8:21 PM

We have to stop the arboreal slaughter. If we can’t stop it in the forests we will stop it in the fireplaces. We gotta go door to door baby.


It’s all so clear man.

ChampagneKitty January 16, 2013 at 8:35 PM

You are correct, crazytech58, PG&E has nothing to do with the BAAQMD.

to Smokey the Bear & all other whiners: asthmatics are not dumbasses. It doesn’t matter how good my doctor is; there is no cure for asthma. I already have a life, thank you. As for moving, the Bay Area is my home and moving isn’t necessarily going to solve anything. For me, all the wood smoke didn’t bother me at first, but since it’s been so cold, there has been smoke in the air night after night after night. After a while, it starts to take its toll.
All of this anger people are expressing over a few Spare the Air days is ridiculous and you are displaying a total lack of respect, compassion, or understanding for those with respitory problems. Some of you seem to think that everyone with breathing problems should have to move to isolated areas so as not to inconvenience those who think they should be able to burn a fire if they feel like it. Some of you seem to think that your right to burn a fire overrides my right to breathe. What the hell is wrong with you? Stop acting like fires are banned any longer than a few nights a year. Stop acting like your rights are being trampled on because you are being asked to be considerate of others. Is this how you were raised to behave? Stop acting like someone’s only source of being warm is being taken away from them; that is not how Spare the Air works. There are very few people in the Bay Area who have no choice but to have a fire to keep warm. And those people are exempt from Spare the Air. I am tired of indignant “who’s going to pay my PG&E bill because I can’t have a fire” responses every time there’s a winter Spare the Air day. You’re going to pay the PG&E bill, that’s who. And if are seriously financially constrained, then you can apply for the CARE program. We all have to live together, whether you like it or not. And sometimes that means being considerate of those you live among. If you cannot tolerate that, then you’re the one who needs to move to an isolated area.

ChampagneKitty January 16, 2013 at 9:12 PM

to Where is Steve Weir #35: There are no “jack-booted Air Nazis.” Knock it off.

Fact of the matter January 16, 2013 at 9:14 PM

I agree with Champagnekitty’s last post 100%. Many of these people have a sense of entitlement in this world. No consideration for anyone but themselves. This is at the expense of others health, especially the children and elderly.

bp January 16, 2013 at 10:06 PM

no one is paying attention to these “spare the air alerts” in Bay Point, burning goes on and on and on. why bother if they don’t enforce it.

The Grant January 17, 2013 at 12:05 AM

8.4% of adults in California have asthma

I say screw the 8.4% and burn baby burn…

Brian January 17, 2013 at 12:31 AM

#41, I can guarantee you that number is way higher than 8.4%

Antler January 17, 2013 at 6:40 AM

And for “Best (and most justified) mad-on on Claycord, 2013”, it will be hard to beat ChampagneKitty at #37.

Thank you, Kitty. Heck, after that I didn’t even want to bring any firewood inside!

Sacto Rob January 17, 2013 at 7:52 AM

@The Real McCoy–I see what you did there.

Easy to go after the little people January 17, 2013 at 8:38 AM

The BAAQMD is using our money to go after the lowest polluter but get the most public exposure. Someone burning a little fire, making it look like that’s causing asthma attacks across the county. Go look a the line of diesel trucks and ships pumping out those toxic particulates. Going after them would not provide much exposure for BAAQMD and that makes it harder for them to justify their existence.

Bobfished January 17, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Electricity and natural gas are not clean energy sources. Most electricity in the U.S. comes from burning coal and the extraction of natural gas from the ground produces methane gas and pollutes the water. Wood can be burned clean and is renewable.

Barge January 17, 2013 at 9:23 AM

@The Grant:

What kind of monster are you to totally lack empathy for people with breathing difficulties? The inability to breathe is absolutely terrifying. Don’t forget, someday it may happen to you.

Real American January 17, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Jim, Bobfished, Señor Smog, I’m going to throw a it juicy steak on the grill, too. It’s our duty as Americans and parents to show our children how to stand up for our rights. We have to teach them if we don’t agree with a law, we break it. This is America, the land of individual rights and no Nazis can take them away. So what if some kid or old lady gets a asthma attack. That hardly ever happens. I want to grill and nobody can stop me. Just like driving. Those Nazis think they can tell me how fast I can go because somebody might get hurt if I drive too fast. Why do I care if somebody loses control and takes out some guy and his daughters who happen to be riding their bikes. People speed all the time and that hardly ever happens. We gotta teach our kids that this is America and you don’t have to obey any laws you don’t like.

@bobfishd 46 January 17, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Wood is NOT being burned clean in fireplaces in the bay area. Take a walk any winter evening. The air is thick with smoke. Doesn’t matter what could theoretically be done with technology. BAAQMD is dealing with reality.

DoReMi January 17, 2013 at 9:52 AM

An old fashioned fireplace is not efficent in heating a house.

Intrigued January 17, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Central heating is best–out with the old fashioned.

The Grant January 17, 2013 at 11:32 AM


my lack of empathy stems from the reality that my production supports the majority of people and I could give two sh*ts on how said people are effected by notion.


Derived from and CDC website for CA

Asthma- # of conditions / prevalence

Per 1,000 population

age: 18-44 80 per 1000 people = 8%
age: 45-64 87 per 1000 people = 8.7%
age: 65+ 80 per 1000 people = 8%

nytemuvr January 17, 2013 at 12:09 PM

@The Real McCoy #18
The “devil’s lettuce”…..good one, haven’t heard it called that….how much of “devil’s lettuce” account for the smoke on a STA Days….my devil radishes should be coming up soon along with my devils carrots. Already chopped down some of my devil’s weeds. Thanks for the laugh, don’t forget about that Devil Obama too….The real mccoy…..idiot.

Claycordian January 17, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Jack Broadbent needs to get out of his ivory tower and see the real world. There’s a wind out there today, from the northeast at about 10 knots. The air is NOT stagnant! There is absolutely no need for a STA Day today.

pittsburg January 17, 2013 at 1:15 PM

and by the way, I have asthma and the wood smoke has never bothered me

pittsburg January 17, 2013 at 1:22 PM

the only way that the BAAQMD is able to enforce the STA days is by relying on your neighbors to tattle on you. also, dont let them fool you into thinking thEy have high tech heat seeking drones or some other BS to spy on you. everyone in my neighborhood burns fires regardless, and none of us care about these STA alerts.

Policy of Truth January 17, 2013 at 1:36 PM

@ 56,

Ever hear of a compliancy officer?

pittsburg January 17, 2013 at 1:53 PM

@57…compliancy isn’t even a word…moron. you’re probably a liberal too, am I right? but to answer you, no, never heard of one or even seen one for that matter.

Stupid Should Hurt January 17, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Real American @ 48, “We gotta teach our kids that this is America and you don’t have to obey any laws you don’t like.”

I take care of that lesson by having my kids watch the President.

Stupid Should Hurt January 17, 2013 at 2:25 PM

PoT @ 57 – Where does 56 say that BAAQMD DOESN’T have “compliancy (sic) officers”?


pittsburg January 17, 2013 at 3:05 PM

lol@59, so true. waiting for congress to grow some bawls and draw up the articles of impeachment against Obama. but still, even if the BAAQMD does have COMPLIANCE officers, they obviously dont have enough of them, and they can’t be everywhere at once.

Anon2you January 17, 2013 at 4:18 PM

OK first of all, just take a look toward Richmond/Martinez see those factories, they are putting off more toxic chemicals than my chimney. You asthmatics are falling for the oldest trick in the book, they are distracting you with our “stinkey” fireplace smoke…while the real culprits of your breathing problems are Highway 4, 680, 24, 880 and all the Refineries in the area! Screw it I am burning tonight so send me a ticket!

Policy of Truth January 17, 2013 at 5:16 PM

@ Pittsburg & Stupid (Should Hurt),
How old are you, Five? -And why do you insist on continually making yourself look silly challenging facts? What color is the sky in your make believe world?

Sorry to inform you but Compliancy is a word which has apparently has been around since 1643.

@ Stupid, You asked; “Where does 56 say that BAAQMD DOESN’T have “compliancy (sic) officers”?” I would suggest right here in his post;
“the only way that the BAAQMD is able to enforce the STA days is by relying on your neighbors to tattle on you.” …or did you overlook that too?

Is there any more of your homework you need done, or are you done spreading nonsense and wasting our time for today?

noun \-ən(t)-sē\
Definition of COMPLIANCY
See compliancy defined for kids »
Examples of COMPLIANCY
First Known Use of COMPLIANCY


Smokey The Bear January 17, 2013 at 7:46 PM

@#37 Your long winded story brought tears to my eyes.Got seasoned split almond wood for sale,$240.00 a cord how many cords do you want me to put you down for?P.S. Free delivery.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: