Ten in a Row! Winter Spare the Air Alert Issued for Tuesday Dec. 17

December 16, 2013 16:00 pm · 63 comments

A 10th consecutive Winter Spare the Air alert has been issued for Tuesday by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, banning wood burning in the San Francisco Bay Area.

An ongoing cold weather pattern combined with low winds have prompted the string of alerts, issued by the air district when air pollution rises to unhealthy levels.

The alert is the 14th since the district’s Winter Spare the Air season began on Nov. 1 and bans wood burning both indoors and outdoors, with exemptions for homes that have no other source of heat.

First-time violators of the ban are offered a wood smoke awareness class or a $100 ticket. Subsequent violations can lead to increasing fines, according to the air district.

The daily burn status in the Bay Area can be found online at www.baaqmd.gov or www.sparetheair.org, by calling (877) 4-NO-BURN or by signing up for Spare the Air iPhone or Android apps.


1 It's not fires December 16, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Airports, ports, refineries, non-essential traffic, cars idling at the Burger King while smoke pours out the top of the building, cars idling at the toll booths, all is allowed during a Spare the Air Day. BUT BAAQMD bans a home fire. It’s BS. Don’t blame the fireplaces.

2 Dorothy December 16, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Rain dancers need to work overtime.

3 bluebird December 16, 2013 at 4:25 PM

We won’t make it to “eleven in a row” though. :(

4 RunnerDope December 16, 2013 at 4:25 PM

@It’s not fires,

OK, so if you had your choice between banning wood fires or not driving your car x days a week, which would you choose?

5 Bobfshed December 16, 2013 at 4:45 PM

The BAAQMD is responsible for the air quality that we are experiencing now. They have done nothing but blame wood fires all the while allowing the petroleum burning to go on without even mentioning the need to cut back. They shoud be ashamed of themselves for lying and causing this problem. Wood smoke is a mask to cover the real problem!

6 Don P - N. Concord December 16, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Ok I wont burn wood. Instead i’ll use old phonebooks and trash.

7 Mister Wister December 16, 2013 at 5:17 PM

Those are all necessary activities. You burning a fireplace for aesthetic purposes doesn’t qualify as a necessary activity.

8 IEatBabyUnicorns December 16, 2013 at 5:49 PM

Gotta find a way to charge these tyrants rent.

9 Anon December 16, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Mark my words BAAQMD – You might be able to prevent me from having a fire during the winters…. But when summer rolls around and you ask me to spare the air, I’ll remember how you treated the Bay Area during the winter and do anything but “spare the air” on those days.

10 Smokey December 16, 2013 at 6:14 PM

I was walking earlier and several cars passed by. I didn’t smell anything. Then I walked near a home with a fire burning. I almost gagged. A wood fire will ruin the air outside in the still night air.

Also, this isn’t America in the 50′s. Where is there smoke pouring out of the top of a building?

11 WC Boy December 16, 2013 at 6:26 PM

answer: I will start burning tires

thank you

12 @Mister Wister December 16, 2013 at 6:34 PM

If you’re ok with the government telling you that you can only do what’s necessary, then good for you. I, on the other hand, enjoy the freedom to sometimes do things that aren’t necessary.

13 Larry December 16, 2013 at 6:49 PM

@#1 Excellent comment I agree with you.

14 Larry December 16, 2013 at 7:05 PM

@#7 Maybe necessary activities for you are not them same necessary activities for #1 or many others.Have you ever heard of freedom of choice?

15 Triple Canopy December 16, 2013 at 7:17 PM

@7… Who are YOU to determine what is necessary and unnecessary?

I’ll determine that for myself using my freedom choice and personal liberty.

16 Jerk December 16, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Naw, you all love gov’t granting you permission to wipe your azz – You’ll probably ask how many sheets of TP you’re allowed to use.
Sick Slaves

17 Shasta Daisy December 16, 2013 at 7:31 PM

I’m not an expert but I believe that the large particulates from burning wood is the problem. Yes, there are many other causes for poor air quality but I think we should all do whatever we can to keep the air we breathe as clean as possible for ourselves and for our children.

18 Santa Claus December 16, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Just make sure you have one burning x-mas eve cuz i love conning down a hot chimney & into a warm coz house!!!!

19 Gag! December 16, 2013 at 7:58 PM

I just went outside and the air smelled like a combination of smoke and petrochemicals. It’s disgusting!

20 Ben Dover December 16, 2013 at 8:15 PM

How about burning COAL? All I hear is about wood fires.
I’ll bet most of the board members of BAAQMD are stockholders in PG&E!
Who will take that bet and how can we find out?

21 Unfortunate Coincidence December 16, 2013 at 8:20 PM

Will there be a drop in consumer spending reported in the 9 bay area counties in next month or so? Increased gas usage over these 10 days is going to impact family budgets along with increased health insurance costs due to policy replacements.

22 Mrs. T December 16, 2013 at 8:22 PM

Who cares. Its cold and we are burning baby.
Enough of the whining about smoke harming you. Back in the day that is the only way people had to stay warm not a problem then and it damn sure isn’t a problem now.

23 Bobfshed December 16, 2013 at 8:23 PM

70% of the winter time particulate comes from sources other than wood fires! That is the data from the BAAQMD! So no it is not the wood fires! It’s just the only thing you hear.

24 Bobfshed December 16, 2013 at 8:38 PM

Not burning petroleum products will help keep the air and environment clean for ourselves, our children and the environment.

25 Jimmy James December 16, 2013 at 8:55 PM

I’m burning almond tonight. My kids made smores.

26 Yhe Phantom December 16, 2013 at 8:59 PM

Mrs. T

Life expectancy was 67 years, now it’s 78.5 years.

Pollution kills. Wood/coal/pellet fires do complicate suffering for all asthma, cancer, chemotherapy, COPD, cardio vascular disease, and pneumonia patients. It is especially hard on asthmatic children who may make up 10% of the county’s victims of your “burning” passion.

Autos and refineries not so much…what does the catalytic converter do?
Factory filters on exhaust and process vents work…see EPA and OSHA.

Those of you burning fires will have fires to keep you warm for all eternity. What’s the rush?

27 Bobfshed December 16, 2013 at 9:00 PM

What the BAAQMD does to confuse everyone is to put all wood burning in one category then split out all the petroleum burning into 4-5 categories to make each contribution seem small. Then they say the largest single contibution is wood fires. Petroleum is split out by big cars, little cars, airplanes, ships, tractors, diesel trucks…….. When you add up all the other contributions from petroleum it is by far the largest contributor to PM 2.5 in both the winter and summer. Everything you do is petroleum based! Look around you, it’s all petroleum based or petroleum was used in the process to generate it.

28 Just Wondering December 16, 2013 at 9:02 PM

How many of you drove a car today????
And, who do you think made the gasoline in your tank???

29 D-SHOT December 16, 2013 at 9:18 PM

26. Your an idiot. Life expectancy is up due to modern medicine. Not because of the EPA or the spare the air crap. Most of the world spits out more pollutants in the air in a dai then the US does in a year. It’s all the same air. We are not in a bubble. But you may be


30 Olivia December 16, 2013 at 9:22 PM

@Just Wondering
I drove today and I think it was the dinosaurs.

31 @Phantom December 16, 2013 at 9:40 PM

Really? People who have a fire are going to hell?

Anyway, you seem to be a big fan of EPA catalytic converters. Lots of people have EPA certified wood stoves and inserts that have catalysts and burn very clean. Why are those not OK, but non-renewable pollution from factories is?

32 Mark December 17, 2013 at 5:18 AM

When a rule is not enforced, it essentially becomes more of a suggestion. I have read people here on Claycord (including myself) ask if anyone has ever been fined for having a fire on a spare the air day. I have yet to see that anyone has ever been fined. And who enforces the fine if you refuse to pay?

I have abided by the suggestion not to burn wood so far, but I will have holiday fires. No suggestion will keep me from that.

33 Huskerfan December 17, 2013 at 5:38 AM

I wrote a letter to the BAAQMD regarding the 9 now 10 days in a row. Everyone concerned needs to do this. And if you do write a letter make sure you include all of your local government officials from the govenor on down. It is time to stand up to this group. How many out there depend on burning wood for heat in there homes. My family does. Now the money grubbing PG&E bill will be extremely high.

34 Vindex December 17, 2013 at 7:06 AM

I went to the top of the hill today, and I could see at least a 100 miles. Pollution in the air? This is the insane! Burn your fires, the government can’t tell us what to do.

35 Rollo Tomasi December 17, 2013 at 8:18 AM

@ #31:

Look at the bright side. At least we’ll be there with others like us. It beats being in heaven with all the burglars and drug dealers. You see, they get to go to heaven as soon as Phantom “rehabilitates” them with yet more of your tax dollars.

36 The Mamba December 17, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Have the other 9 days made a difference?

37 Mr. Pink December 17, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Glad I didn’t bother to buy any wood.

38 Bobfshed December 17, 2013 at 9:48 AM

The STAD have not made a inference because they are due to something other than wood smoke. That is very clear I think to everyone now!

39 Bobfshed December 17, 2013 at 9:57 AM

They don’t want you to buy wood! They want you to buy and burn petroleum products. Bigger profit for them but you can see what does to our air!

40 Bobfshed December 17, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Lets make this easy. No wood fires and the air is the worst it has ever been in the winter. Cause of bad air? Must be the wood fires!

41 Mrs. T December 17, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Phantom care to explain all the old folks that have lived past 80 and even 90?? They grew up keeping warm by the fire. Agreed that modern medicine has helped!
Simmer down now I think we have all heard enough from your big mouth!!
Yes you phantom stfu :)

42 Bobfshed December 17, 2013 at 12:07 PM

They found some bad air by the San Jose airport and they are calling a STA tonight! Number 11!
Someone must be burning wood by the airport!

43 Bobfshed December 17, 2013 at 12:50 PM

The BAAQMD and the media are responsible for the pollution that you have in the bayarea. They will not address the problem with all the petroleum burning that is going on and instead blame it on wood fires which we have not had in 11 days. They are liers, the worse kind. Their lies effect people with breathing problems by not addressing the real issue. The production and burning of petroleum products! The BAAQMD and the media should be ashamed of what they have done!

44 Bobfshed December 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM

If there are no wood fires and the air is unhealthy what are the folks who are so against wood burning going to do to help improve the air quality.
Answer: Nothing

45 Bobfshed December 17, 2013 at 1:04 PM

I just sent a letter too. I will not support the liars at BAAQMD or any candidate that supports them.

46 Howard K Mullins III December 17, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Bay Area air quality management calls 11th #SpareTheAir day tomorrow.

47 Mister Wister December 17, 2013 at 1:27 PM

No, what you enjoy is being is a whiny, entitled, ignorant and inconsiderate jackass to others. Learn the difference between laws designed to help others and nuisance “nanny state” laws designed to “protect” you from yourself.

48 Mister Wister December 17, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Yes, you looking at your fireplace for aesthetic purposes qualifies as “necessary”. What a tool.

49 Mister Wister December 17, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Ya gotta love how this chimp thinks I made the law. Listen fool, the law allows exemptions for heating and cooking if you don’t have any other means, otherwise any other use is frivolous and for your aesthetic enjoyment. An entitled monkey such as yourself won’t be “determining” anything…the law will!

50 Snow Miser December 17, 2013 at 1:38 PM

I love STADs because I get to read all the comments from the Daniel Boons and Davey Crockets of Concord, flush from their morning trapping game and fishing along the snowy banks of the Walnut Creek, returned to their log cabins along Clayton Rd. with their cords of firewood that they have hand split from lumber taken from the mighty forest that grows around Sun Valley Mall…. only to find that curses! The gummit is saying we can’t burn wood! Ma, sew us up another buckskin blanket, it’s going to be a cold one tonight!

You live in a large urban center. Wood smoke makes it harder for folks with asthma to breathe. Either learn to live with it or move out to the countryside.

51 Mr Weiner December 17, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Lol, looks like Mister Wister’s buttons are easy to push.

52 Bobfished December 17, 2013 at 2:11 PM

You live in a large urban area with 5 oil refineries, 3 major airports, 8 million people, 7 million cars.., the air will never be clean as long as we’re burning this much petroleum. If you want clean air you should not live in a large urban area!

53 funny man December 17, 2013 at 2:36 PM


54 Bobfished December 17, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Petroleum is Non renewable, it will run out one day. But not until it has caused catastrophic damage.

55 Joe December 17, 2013 at 3:04 PM


56 Bobfished December 17, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Can’t ban petroleum, there would be no one to pay the BAAQMD!

57 vindex December 17, 2013 at 3:22 PM

@ Mister Writer
Why don’t you try and rationally debate the topic instead of insulting. Your comments are worthless when you just insult.

58 Pro Fi December 17, 2013 at 4:20 PM

When will you people get it…. 33.3% of the air could be cleaner… that’s one third… That is as big as the 1/3 coming from vehicles and the other 1/3 coming from industry. I am pretty sure those of you burning aren’t willing to keep the car in the garage and use candles to light your home. But hey… it’s all about you… and maybe it is the rest of us law-abiding citizens that need protection from you.

NEWSFLASH: This just in.. the world isn’t flat and the universe doesn’t revolve around us.

59 Bobfished December 17, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Wrong, 1/3 was when the program started. The BAAQMD says fire place use has dropped by 15%. Now there is well over 2/3 coming from petroleum burning! The air has not met BAAQMD standards in eleven days so 100 % is from sources other than wood!

60 Bobfished December 17, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Are you saying that if there were no wood fires there would never be a STA?

61 Pro Fi December 17, 2013 at 8:40 PM

Ummmm Wrong….. dropped by 15% not 100%, 85% of those who burned wood originally are still burning. Since there are people still burning you can not claim that burning wood has no impact. Get everyone to stop burning (100% compliance) and then see where the air quality is.

The problem with those that are saying that it has no impact are making a false proclamation… we simply can’t make that assumption based on the number of individuals still burning. I am definitely NOT saying that. But if EVERYONE didn’t burn on at least half these days, would we be on the 11th in a row? My point is simply just saying it has no impact without having at least some NO wood fire days is a false claim. We don’t know how these STAD are impacting the air, because so many people refuse to stop burning.

Get the entire Bay Area to comply a few times and maybe what pro-wood folks are saying might be true. Then you have the facts to fight the system.

62 WC Resident December 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM

We will get some relief when the winds start picking up!! At least there is less wood smoke which impairs breathing for my friend who has COPD and other issues. Still too yucky to ride my bike in this bad air!! (nice excuse). You all have a great day.

63 Aldous Huxley December 24, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Put out your cozy fires and go to the mall burning gasoline for an hour until you can find a spot and spend more money! Anybody who buys into this BS is beyond help. Fukushima is leaking radiation into the Pacific and a home fireplace log is endangering health?!!! OK.

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