“Spare the Air” Alert Issued in the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday

February 1, 2013 15:25 pm · 33 comments


A Winter Spare the Air Alert has been issued for Saturday, February 2, 2013, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Wood burning is banned both indoors and outdoors on February 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 www.sparetheair.org/Stay-Informed/Todays-Air-Quality/Reporting-Zones.aspx 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 www.sparetheair.org 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 www.sparetheair.org.

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.

Señor Smog February 1, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Oh boy! I’m going to have to find a new Tiny Tim Cratchet and some more kittens. The last batch asphyxiated.

Who's Crazy February 1, 2013 at 3:37 PM


Cap'n Nick February 1, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Well, I guess if wood burning will be banned for the day I’ll just have to spark up those tires that I’ve been meaning to get rid of.

Elwood February 1, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Mayor, won’t you please tell us why you repeatedly use that stupid picture of a refinery flaring after an incident which has nothing to do with the air Nazis declaring another “spare the air” day?

Is there some point you’re trying to make?

Please inform us.

CLAYCORD.com February 1, 2013 at 4:34 PM


Because I can.


CJ February 1, 2013 at 4:34 PM

They’ll do it on Sunday too. It will make my smoked ribs taste that much better during the Super Bowl.

Shasta Daisy February 1, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Wonder why it’s always a photo of a refinery?
I subscribe to NASA Ames news alerts, I received this yesterday.

NASA Ames / Bay Area Air District to Study Local Air Pollution01.31.2013

Bay Area residents may notice some unusual air traffic taking place this Thursday and Friday, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 2013, over Interstate-680 and other parts of the region. NASA will fly several specially equipped aircraft and one will fly as low as 1,000 feet to collect air quality data as part of a central California study to better understand air pollution.

“Surprisingly, few studies have explored the vertical distribution of pollution in the Bay Area, particularly in wintertime,” said Laura Iraci, an atmospheric research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. “The Alpha Jet stationed at Ames will measure atmospheric gases off the Pacific coast to understand how cleaner air moves into northern California.”

The science flight over the Bay Area will be one of several making similar flights in central California as part of the Discover-AQ campaign, led by NASA’s Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. Each aircraft is specially outfitted with an array of high-tech air quality measuring instruments. The data gathered will be used in concert with ground-level air monitoring networks that will shed light on how satellites could be used to make refined measurements through a column of air.

Air quality scientists currently do not know the magnitude of particulates and other air pollutants above the surface layer of the atmosphere. Satellites have so far been unable to distinguish between air pollution high in the atmosphere and near the surface where people live and breathe. This project will help determine where pollution is coming from and how emissions move on a broad-scale level.

Between 2017- 2019, NASA and international partners in Europe and Asia will be launching geostationary satellites specifically designed to address air quality. The current project is a partnership with NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board, multiple universities in California and across the nation, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

“This effort will greatly improve what we know about how air pollution forms and moves in Northern California and our region,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “The data collected through this study will refine the tools currently available to Air District planners and meteorologists who forecast and simulate air pollution in the Bay Area.”

Señor Smog February 1, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Mayor – nice one! LOL!

good grief February 1, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Excellent! I’ll feel better about that brisket going on the smoker!

Policy of Truth February 1, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Great reply Mayor! Love it!

I got a pamplet from the BAAQMD (www.baaqmd.gov) and here is what caught my eye;

“Wood smoke contains a complex mix of harmful chemicals including tiny particles and gases. These microscopic particles called PM2.5 are so small that several thousand could fit on the period at the end of this sentence.
Since they are so tiny, these particles can easily penetrate the lungs and small passageways of the respiratory system and enter the bloodstream. Health studies have linked long-term exposure to PM2.5 to loss of lung function, bronchitis, lung disease, onset of heart attacks and increased death rates.
Cold winter weather without wind or rain can cause wood smoke pollution to become trapped close to the ground and build up to unhealthy levels…”

Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

The notification process is very straight forward. You can be “notified” either the easy way or the hard way.

Easy way- (sign up for phone alerts- 1-800-430-1515)

Hard way- (register a wood burning complaint) @ http://www.caaqmd.gov/complaints or call 1-877-4NO-BURN (operators are standing by!)

tired of taxes February 1, 2013 at 5:06 PM

@ Elwood
Since you obviously don’t get why the Mayor uses that picture (and you call the picture “stupid”) then you are the one that is stupid.

Spare the Air only applies to us peons and not to corporations (ergo, picture of the refinery, owned by a corporation).
I distinctly remember that the BAAQMD even went as far as saying that the fairly recent Richmond refinery fire did not affect air quality so the people complaining about respiratory problems just after that incident were just overreacting. Then the BAAQMD backtracked on its initial statement when it was obvious that no one believed the bullcrap they were trying to feed the public.

Blink February 1, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Best laugh of the day!!!!!!! Irony Irony Irony!!!

Señor Smog February 1, 2013 at 6:32 PM

I was already placing an order for premium grade Pennsylvania Blue Anthracite. Anybody want to split a ton?

PGE&E BILL!!!! February 1, 2013 at 6:34 PM

So, my last month’s bill was ONLY $645!!!! When the BAAQMD pays my bill, then I will stop burning wood. Have a great day.

@14 February 1, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Wow your home must have been warm and toastie.

TCKid February 1, 2013 at 6:52 PM

I mean I know our cars and wood burning puts pollutants in the air…but I’m pretty sure a refinery puts wayyyy more pollutants in the air than we as citizens do. Must we suffer because our refineries can’t run cleaner? I don’t get why I’m not allowed to put a fire in my fireplace because somebody somewhere decided its a spare the air day every other god damn day

Mike T February 1, 2013 at 6:55 PM

At the Mayor.. Your responce to Elwood….PERFECT!!!! Love ya Mayor

Starfish February 1, 2013 at 7:01 PM

hmmmm…..odd….the first time I have ever seen the mayor rude on this blog at all.

Wood Burner February 1, 2013 at 8:01 PM

So I can’t BBQ for my daughters birthday

bluebird February 1, 2013 at 8:22 PM

Is that an oxymoron, “…our refineries can’t run cleaner” ? I am not a scientist nor do I work at a refinery, but even I can see that when you process chemicals and use heat to do so, the exhaust has to go somewhere. Sort of like all those carbs you consumed for dinner.

anon February 1, 2013 at 8:32 PM


I love the wit! Please don’t change the photo to appease the people that just won’t get it.

Claycordian February 1, 2013 at 10:28 PM

I predict that Super Bowl Sunday will also be a STA day…. Maybe if Jack Broadbent kept his mouth shut, air quality would improve…..

Bob Moore February 1, 2013 at 10:57 PM

75% of the the winter PM 2.5 comes from sources other than wood smoke. All of those sources are legal during both a winter spare the air and summer spare the air. Almost all of those sources burn or produce petroleum products for profit!

Policy of Truth February 2, 2013 at 12:32 AM

Let me get this straight.
What you’re saying is that you want the refineries to clean up their act, before you begin to “sacrifice” and additionally you won’t mind paying 7.00 a gallon for fuel. Not in the least right?

Yeah right.

I just love the intellect here.

Safety Second February 2, 2013 at 4:16 AM

BAAQMD serves one purpose and that is to regulate the masses, i.e. impede INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY. So many other government buracracies chip away at the “American Experience” as well: IRS, ABAG, EPA, FTB, NEA, RDAs, PLAs, FTC, HUD, and the list goes on and on and on and ….

Cash February 2, 2013 at 7:31 AM

Irony, for sure! Rules just don’t apply when you’re big enough. Reminds me of when they tried to tell us it was our hairspray that caused the hole in the ozone….

Bob Moore February 2, 2013 at 9:35 AM

The only thing that is illegal during winter spare the air days is wood burning for heat. wood burning for cooking is legal. Everything else that is contributing to the other 75% of the PM2.5 is legal. During the summer spare the air days everything is legal including wood burning.
Not sure why gas would go to $7 a gallon when Chevrons last Q profit was $26.2 billion dollars. Oh, they were fined 1 million for the fire last year. Raised the price of gas 10 cents and made back their 1 million in 23 minutes
The pollution problems in the Bay Area are from producing and burning petroleum products not from wood.
If wood fires were banned there would still be winter spare the air days except everything would be legal.

Steve February 2, 2013 at 9:42 AM

@Mr Mayor #6…

Great response!

Geez People! February 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Did you see the pink/gray sky last night around sunset? It was gross. There’s a reason why there’s spare the air days.

Bob Moore February 2, 2013 at 11:14 AM

The reason there are spare the air days is because we are addicted to petroleum! Geez!

Facts February 2, 2013 at 7:39 PM

Mr Jack bend-you-over Broadbent has been lying to you since day one.

Remember now not too long ago he stated that the big black cloud of smoke from the Chevron fire was not hazardous…lets see…smoke=soot=particulate mater=health concern. This is just one of his mass screw-ups! and should tell you where the money comes from.

1 At the public hearings for the no-burn days he was heard saying ” I will be glad whe these stupid hearings are over so we can enact these rules and eliminate woodburning:”. Yes I was there and heard him say it. Do you also know that he sits on the Board of Directors for the American Lung Assc.

2 According to their ( Air Quality Board) facts a EPA Certified woodburning stove/fireplace insert or pelet stove produce only SLIGHYTLY more polution than a gas burning furnace. YES the same particulate matter comes from your gas furnace/water heater and gas fireplace ! and YES I did ask to get clairification on these figures. Difference is you can smell the smoke. So everyday that all of you turn on your furnace YOU are putting pollutants in the air that affect everyones health and there are far more furnaces/water heaters being run EVERYday than woodburning devices. 1.4 million fire places buning everyday is just alot of smoke that they are blowing up-your-a** and contributing to the pollution.

3 Exemption for EPA Certified devices…according to them..to hard to keep track of and they do not want to differenciate between any woodburning devices. Back to #1 and the fact HE does want ANY woodburning at all.

4 He stated in the meeting here in Concord that the Fines for violating the No Burn Rule would start with a warning then go up progressively to what surrounding areas charge..at that time it was a max of $50.00. This lasted only for a couple of months till it was changed to higher amounts and has been changed every year since without ANY Public Hearings. He decides what the fines will be and imposes them. His board foolows HIS rules. He was appointed by people that you ELECT so be careful of who you put in office and question them on the things they do!

5 National Weather Service sight. Go there everyday and have yet seen any Air Quality Alerts posted for the Bay Area and surrounding areas. Yes there are catagories/colors for those and they are only seen in the states of Oregon and Wasington…never been posted even on no burn days in our area. Why is it that HE can say “No Burn Day” when the National Weather Service does not even see a problem????? You others out there should go there as well and ckeck out our weather forcasts.

6 At the meeting in Concord there were about 20 people. Only 2 spoke in favor of a woodburning ban..the rest were against it. There was a lady from the Northern Counties and she had attented all of the meetings and said that there was not a majority in any of the meetings for the ban. So if the people had spoken against the ban how could the Board eliminate woodburning??? Clearly the public had spoken and their feelings/views were not followed. HE has way to much power and HE should be replaced with someone who knows what they are doing.

Disgusted February 3, 2013 at 2:28 PM

PM2.5 Peak on 2/2/2013 was 71. That warrants a spare the air. This is bulls#@t.

Disgusted February 3, 2013 at 2:29 PM

I should clarify – this was for the East Bay Region, which is the area they had PM2 at 102.

PM2.5 Peak on 2/2/2013 was 71. That warrants a spare the air. This is bulls@#t.

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