Wood Burning Banned in the Bay Area for the 11th Straight Day

December 17, 2013 16:00 pm · 77 comments


Bay Area residents will be banned from burning wood for the 11th straight day on Wednesday.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District today issued another Winter Spare the Air alert for Wednesday, the 15th since its winter season began on Nov. 1.

The air district issues alerts and bans wood burning both indoors and outdoors on days when it deems air pollution has risen to unhealthy levels in the region.

An ongoing cold weather pattern in the Bay Area has prompted the unprecedented string of consecutive Winter Spare the Air alerts, according to the district, which said this morning’s fire at a recycling facility in Redwood City likely contributed to the elevated pollution levels.

District officials said the cold weather system is expected to weaken later this week, with increasing winds likely to help reduce pollution below unhealthy levels on Thursday.

Only homes without permanently installed heating are exempt from the wood-burning ban.

First-time violators are given the option of taking a wood smoke awareness class in lieu of paying a $100 fine. Subsequent violations result in higher fines.

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 Don P - N. Concord December 17, 2013 at 4:14 PM

I’m all out of phone books so i guess i’ll start burning pieces of my old mattress.

2 Say What ? December 17, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Forecast for winds Wed. is for onshore flow by 9 am in the morning building to in excess of 10 mph by 11:30 and by 4 pm wind over 15 mph and gusts over 20 mph. Don’t be surprised if they’re able to see snow on Sierra peaks before sunset from SF.

3 J. Holmes December 17, 2013 at 4:25 PM

The Paid for PG&E Scam Continues.. and people still dont believe it.

4 Incognito December 17, 2013 at 4:35 PM


5 SILLY December 17, 2013 at 4:39 PM


6 Nick December 17, 2013 at 4:42 PM

My heater continues to run almost all day to the sum of an enormous huge PGE bill at end of month, just great. Thanks

7 Wait For IT December 17, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Next on the agenda hand wringing concern an alarm at having a record 11 consecutive days and calls by “them” for even stricter controls.

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste”
Rahm Emanuel

8 OH HAPPY FRIDAY December 17, 2013 at 4:50 PM


9 Chevrolet girl December 17, 2013 at 4:52 PM

BAAQMD is out of control.

10 russ December 17, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Anxiously awaiting Bobfshed’s diatribe on this subject

11 Bobfshed December 17, 2013 at 5:07 PM

You an not blame wood for bad air when there are no wood fires.! That’s really simple logic folks!

12 Denise's #1 Fan December 17, 2013 at 5:18 PM

I shall treat this STAD exactly as I have treated the last ten.

13 lizzie December 17, 2013 at 5:21 PM

#1— Me too!

All the clothes I planned to donate will now heat my home…….

14 Merrie Sand December 17, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Didn’t anyone notice a proliferation of chemtrails near Clayton? Hmmmm…I reported THAT to the Air Quality Management office.

15 Figures December 17, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Nice this doesn’t apply to all those factories spewing crap all over the bay area.

16 TinFoiler December 17, 2013 at 5:37 PM
17 The Real Truth December 17, 2013 at 5:54 PM

November is on record as the hottest November since 1880. But we don’t have global warming. Keep burning those tires, bbqs, and fire places.

18 Triple Canopy December 17, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Wood burning is banned?

Awesome! That means we can all burn tires!!!

19 Tired of the lies December 17, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Read your latest P.G.&E bill and tell me if I am the only one with a 20% increase in one month for cost per therms.

20 the starcraft December 17, 2013 at 6:22 PM

11th straight day I’ve been burning coal to heat my house. After Xmas I will burn the Xmas trees. Its the only thing I can get hot enough to light these old truck tires I have.

21 captainfantastic December 17, 2013 at 6:23 PM

A breif perusal of the internet will conclusively show The Real Truth to be a Real Fake. Wunderground. Google it.

22 LOL December 17, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Article V – US Constitution

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or,………………………………………………………………………………………… on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof,………………


FOR INSTANCE, AN AMENDMENT MIGHT SAY, ” The right of the people to have a fire at home shall not be denied for any reason at any time” or “The EPA may not make any policy without Congressional approval” or better yet, “There shall be no EPA” or “No member of Congress or the Supreme Court shall serve more than 6 years TOTAL. EVER !” or how about ” Criminals may not become members of Congress” – I think that’s my favorite. It would clean house.

It’s coming folks. Over 100 state representatives met on Dec. 7th at Mt Vernon to move forward on reigning in the Feds. (Where were you Mark DeSaulnier?) I know the BAAQMD are local Nazis, but hey, at least the EPA, the NSA, Dept. of Energy, the Dept. of Education, the IRS are all gonna get their asses handed to them and it’s about time !

You won’t hear this story on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN or any of the crappy newspapers, but it’s for real baby. I can’t wait to see the states take their freedom back from the abusive federal gov’t. This will be worth watching !

Stay warm and stay informed…….

23 Bobfished December 17, 2013 at 6:56 PM

No wood fires, still have the worst air we have ever had in the winter ! Must be the wood fires! Now there is some logic!

24 Reedy Culus December 17, 2013 at 7:13 PM

@LOL,You mean if this happens we can have
slaves again, beat up gays and subjugate
women, if enough of us vote on it ?
Boy , I can’t wait.

25 JLG December 17, 2013 at 7:42 PM

How does this have anything to do with cleaning up our air?
By the way were the black helicopters a issue with you a few years back.

26 Atticus Thraxx December 17, 2013 at 7:49 PM

How much wood could a butthead burn
If a butthead could burn wood?
As much wood as a butthead could burn,
If a butthead could burn wood.
-Mother Goose

27 inmotion December 17, 2013 at 8:16 PM

Someone needs to notify these jets to Spare the Air.

28 D-SHOT December 17, 2013 at 8:18 PM

They cannot enforce the fine. They can give them but can’t make you pay.

29 Elwood December 17, 2013 at 8:22 PM

Won’t you all pretty please, pretty please, pretty please with sugar on it please stop burning wood?

The little girl in the BAAQMD ad at the top of the left hand column looks so sad, let’s see if we can make her smile by filling all our fireplaces with concrete.

30 D-Shot, #28-- Maybe they can't enforce the law December 17, 2013 at 8:57 PM

but they’ll put a lien against the property, which will prevent the house being sold unless the lien is satisfied.

31 Anon715 December 17, 2013 at 9:02 PM

@JLG, have gerbils been a vice for you? Please seek therapy.

32 Blink December 17, 2013 at 9:28 PM

Only if people stop smoking cigarettes too

33 lincolnlog December 17, 2013 at 9:41 PM

I can wait to burn in my pellet stove. I’m more concerned about the lack of rain. Are we in for another drought?

34 Vindex December 17, 2013 at 9:50 PM

That’s it… I’m voting out Martinez vice mayor Mark Ross and both our supervisors on the BAAQMD board. I will actively campaign to remove them from their positions.

35 furian December 17, 2013 at 9:57 PM


36 @ Real Truth December 17, 2013 at 9:58 PM

Wood burning is carbon neutral, so there goes that theory.


You’re right lincoln, the lack of rain is really starting to worry me. Hope it comes soon and keeps coming.

37 Bobfshed December 17, 2013 at 10:29 PM

Keep burning that petroleum! The road to the future.

38 Schmee December 17, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Makes me think of that song.

“We be burning- not concernin what no body got to say…”

39 Bobfshed December 17, 2013 at 10:42 PM

Either you heat your home with wood when you can or you heat your home with petroleum. If you use petroleum get educated on the effects of that.

40 Bobfshed December 17, 2013 at 10:44 PM

For the petroleum users. Take some responsibility.

41 Elwood December 17, 2013 at 10:52 PM

@ Bobfshed

Yo, chowderhead! Natural gas is not petroleum. You could look it up.

And where in God’s name do you find these lunatic websites?

42 Sparky McWortney December 18, 2013 at 12:04 AM

Honest question: What if I get a ticket from BAAQMD and simply don’t pay it? First one for $100…then the next for $500…then higher and higher, though they don’t specify. But what actual power do they have? Can they garnish my wages? Loop in their comrades from the IRS? Or their fellow travelers at the DMV?
I burn when I burn and I almost hope I get a ticket or tickets, I will never pay a DIME, are they going to drag me out of my house in front of my family and take me to jail? I will find a pro bono lawyer and take this to the Supreme Court, because these unelected scientific FRAUDS have no right to do this. “Illegal” to burn. Who gave them that right? Are they actual lawmakers?
What a joke…I just wish I was “educated” enough to get it!

43 concord resident December 18, 2013 at 1:46 AM

Thursday’s AQI forecast is “good” across the entire region, which means we’ll finally be able to have a fire. Looking at the weather forecast though, expect STA days to return by Saturday. We’re in the same horrible weather pattern we got last winter, where a strong high pressure ridge settles in over the area and makes all the storms go around us to the north for weeks on end. Let’s just hope it breaks down soon.

44 KooKooKaChoo December 18, 2013 at 7:12 AM

I hope this end soon, I’m getting tired of smokin ribs and I’ve used all my BBQ recipes and mowed my lawn to dirt in celebration.

45 Joke December 18, 2013 at 7:21 AM

Fires are not the problem. Seriously, if it wasn’t a STA day how many people even have a fire on a Wednesday? Most of us are at work. The ones at home probably have govt. assistance and don’t even pay PG&E directly.

Once again, it’s not fires that cause the bad air…

46 Chester E. Kitty December 18, 2013 at 7:55 AM

@Merrie Sand — I noticed them last night!!

@Sparky McWortney … Good question. Wonder if anyone can answer that.

47 Not Your Job December 18, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Hi Mayor,

Since you post “spare the air” days, why don’t you remind us every day of all the other laws we need to obey?

You should be reminding us not to jaywalk, speed, steal, etc etc. etc.

It’s not your job to do the GUB’ments’ job.



48 RanchgirlCA December 18, 2013 at 9:28 AM

Isn’t there a limit to the number of days they can declare or will this never end until February?

49 James Dean December 18, 2013 at 9:33 AM

There is a meeting of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board of Directors this morning, it will be held at 9:45 a.m. in the 7th Floor Board Room at the Air District Headquarters, 939 Ellis Street, San Francisco,California….Wish I would would have known, I would have attended and went off on how stupid this group is and I would happily show pictures of myself lighting a fire every day and enjoying it with my family!!!!

50 RunnerDope December 18, 2013 at 9:54 AM

>> Can they garnish my wages?

@Sparky McWortney,

Yes they can. Watch out for parsley in your paycheck.

51 tired of taxes December 18, 2013 at 10:03 AM

How about a little civic action?

From their website:
Wood Smoke Complaints

This includes complaints about wood burning or wood smoke, non-cooking backyard fires, and burning of trash. For information about filing a complaint, please see the Wood Smoke Complaint page. You can complete an online wood burning complaint form or call our 24-hour toll-free wood burning complaint line at 1-877-4NO-BURN (1-877-466-2876).

Fill-up the online complaint form:

And list the address as “7th Floor Board Room at the Air District Headquarters, 939 Ellis Street, San Francisco,California”

If everyone on Claycord did their part in contacting BAAQMD via toll-free phone or online form, then we’d certainly get their attention!

52 Policy of Truth December 18, 2013 at 10:29 AM

@ James Dean

Wouldn’t that have made you look stupid? The board is there to carry out the State mandated air quality laws. This thread is full of enough hot air to heat all of our homes. Try doing some homework before spouting off and demonstrating that you don’t know how the district operates. If you don’t like the spare the air says, the go to Sacramento and take it up with your state lawmakers.

I am at the meeting and it’s clear, that none of you blowhards are in attendance. I am also noting that everyone on the board is an elected official.

53 Bobfshed December 18, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Of course natural gas is not a petroleum product. It comes from mixing hot chocolate and cookies! Here is another website for you discussing petroleum products such as natural gas. This one is from another “lunatic organization ” your government.

54 Policy of Truth December 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM

***Sorry for the typos (damn you auto correct).

“If you don’t like the spare the air days, then go to Sacramento and take it up with your state lawmakers.

55 CLAYCORD.com December 18, 2013 at 11:14 AM

@Not Your Job, Actually, that’s a really good idea, we will make sure to post something about not jaywalking, speeding, stealing, etc. etc.

Thanks for the idea.


56 Bobfshed December 18, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Here is what is wrong with the air in the Bay Area. Chevron failed to maintain equipment at a Bay Area refinery and has not responded adequately to multiple airborne chemical releases! This came from the EPA Tuesday. The EPA filed a formal notice aganist Chevron finding 62 violations of federal environmental law. Chevron paid 2 million! That is the same as someone paying 25 cents for a wood fire!
There are 5 oil refineries in the Bay Area!
BAAQMD answer, Must stop wood smoke!

57 jki December 18, 2013 at 1:17 PM

@Policy of Truth you said ” I am also noting that everyone on the board is an elected official.” Yes, but they were not elected to BAAQMD, they were elected to handle local government issues and then ‘appointed’ to the Air Quality board. We should have region wide elections for BAAQMD positions, have them vetted by the voting process and let them be held directly responsible for how they approach and manage any State requirements. They have become very aggressive with their regulations, and are aiming to go far beyond State Requirements.

58 @ Not Your Job December 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

The things you listed are illegal at all times, no burn days are not- so you do actually need some information to know whether it is illegal on any given day. In rural areas, where it is legal to clear vegetation through burning, local websites often have the burn status on them. Not that weird.

Mayor, please provide Not Your Job with an immediate refund, as he is unsatisfied with Claycord.com

59 Burnin December 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

STA is over!,, burn baby burn. House will be hot tonight at midnight and the heater will be off. No money for PG&E tomorrow!

60 Mister Wister December 18, 2013 at 3:18 PM

Moron brigade out in force again!

61 @jki December 18, 2013 at 3:50 PM

>> They have become very aggressive with their regulations, and are aiming to go far beyond State Requirements.

Can you give us one example of what you’re referring to?

62 Burnin December 18, 2013 at 4:59 PM

Beautiful night tonight. Warm fire, Christmas tree, Christmas music, egg nog
, bbq prime rib and family.

63 Elwood December 18, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Bobfshed December 18, 2013 at 10:30 AM #55

Only on a government website would LNG be called a petroleum product. I don’t know anyone around here who uses LNG.

And yes, I do believe that the government is a lunatic organization. Thanks for sharing!

64 Policy of Truth December 18, 2013 at 7:58 PM

@ JKI (post #59), apparently you are unfamiliar elected officials and their roles once elected to any body of government. Once elected to office, individuals are appointed to a host of various boards and committee assignments. It is a large function of their elected duties. This is nothing new. If you don’t like it then your recourse would be to contact your State legislator and ask him/her to change the California Government Code. (Good luck with that).
Since you failed to provide anything beyond an assumption (that they are essentially overstepping their roles), therefore I can’t and won’t address your unfounded accusations.

@ Vindex (post #34), are you suggesting committing voter fraud or are you unaware of who you can to vote for? You see, to “vote out Martinez vice Mayor Mark Ross” would mean you would have to reside in Martinez, which would preclude you from “voting out both our supervisors on the BAAQMD board”. In case you were wondering neither of them are from the district which is inclusive of Martinez.
There are five Supervisors in Contra Costa, you get to vote for the one that represents your district.
If you are going to threaten people you probably want to make sure you know your material. Your supervisor serves on many appointed boards but the BAAQMD is not one of them.

65 vindex December 18, 2013 at 9:34 PM

@ policy of truth
Good Point! I will vote one of the three mentioned out and actively campaign against the other two. Thanks for helping me clarify.

66 Burnin December 18, 2013 at 9:47 PM

Good job!

67 Policy of Truth December 18, 2013 at 9:56 PM

@ Vindex,

And your point would be? They are appointed to a board you don’t like? Or maybe you haven’t quite figured that part out yet.

As I said, good luck with that.

Happy Holidays

68 Pro Fi December 18, 2013 at 11:19 PM


We all get to burn LEGALLY and you are all still complaining…. WTF!?
You have proved the point mant of us have made. Oh and btw,,,
“Burn Baby Burn….” was first used as a rallying cry for the Watts Riots:

“This 1965 Newsweek marks one of the first national appearances of the 60s phrase “Burn, Baby, Burn.” Made infamous by the riots, it was first used by a disc jockey known as Magnificent Montague when he was working in New York and Chicago in ’63 and ’64. He’s shout it any time a piece of soul music got him excited, and he brought it with him to Los Angeles where his listeners appropriated it for the arson that marked the riots. During those terrible days, his station manager and even Mayor Yorty asked Magnficent Montague to give up his slogan. He did, at least while the fires were hot, changing to: “Have Mercy, Los Angeles!””

69 Burnin December 18, 2013 at 11:27 PM

Also a great disco song!

70 VikingPrincess December 19, 2013 at 1:57 AM

I can see why this may seem like a scam. I remember something like this in the bigger cities and they banned using your fireplace… period. This even included gas. I think this is ridiculous considering the little amount of people that do use their fireplaces for wood. It is winter idyots.
Kiss my big brown eye. Idyots.

71 Veronica December 19, 2013 at 4:54 AM

Anyone know what year winter spare the airs started?
For the record, I have asthma and never liked the smoke all winter when I lived in mountain towns. Then they also had burn days after winter was over… then the farmer’s burned the rice fields. It seemed to never stop and I always had to use medication. I do also agree with the P G & E critics! Maybe we need rules as to what you can burn for less smoke effect?
Solution: rotate neighborhoods? Apply for a permit? What’s the middle ground? We are getting more populated all the time, and if everyone had a fire, I would be forced to move to the ocean.

72 Walnut Creek Resident December 19, 2013 at 9:02 AM

I have a friend who has COPD and he really suffers with wood smoke.
These ten days of Spare the Air he did not suffer even though the air was still very gross. So I believe in it. Wood smoke is not good for breathing.
I do not use the fireplace. I do use a Weber charcoal grill and I guess I better not do that either on off the Spare days I do not like propane so I will use a electric grill.I know people think this is over the top having Spare the Air days, but l am sure it is the inversion layer that squashes us with the pollution. That is my humble opinion. Today the wind will take the bad stuff away.

73 Michelle December 19, 2013 at 9:18 AM

That’s awful, Walnut Creek Resident, I usually adhere to spare the air days–and you just gave an excellent reason. I guess many do not realize the ramifications of the excess particulates or how people can actually help by just not burning wood or even carpooling.

74 vindex December 19, 2013 at 9:29 AM

@point of truth
I hear you. I want to vote them off their elected board so they cannot serve as an appointed member of the BAAQMD… They are not representing the people they have appointed to represent on that board. I cannot vote them off or campaign to vote them off the BAAQMD, but I can take away the position they hold as local officials, thus deriving them of their appointment

75 Policy of Truth December 19, 2013 at 8:42 PM

@ vindex,
I am glad that you are hearing, but are you really listening? Vote any of them out and they will just be replaced by another person(s) who will fill the very same role. The BAAQMD is a governed board regulated by CA gov. Code. It’s political make up is pre-determined as to which govt. agencies make up the individual seats on the board. With that being said, do you attend or follow meetings? Do you know how your local and county representative(s) vote? It is actually a very large board, so even if your local reps are voting the way you would want, they can easily be out voted by members from other counties and cities. Are you aware of their voting records? If not, how do you know they are not representing you? Spare the air days? Not a very good indicator. Do yourself a favor and attend a meeting, contact a representative or even read the minutes. Then if you feel you are not being represented do your best to vote them out. Be advised that city council members and county supervisors do a heck of a lot more & sit on a lot more committees than you may realize.

By the way-your district supervisor has a nasty habit of falling asleep during board meetings. I’m guessing you are paying about as much attention to that as you do the BAAQMD meetings.

Argue as you might, you have just proven that you are an uninformed voter. Unfortunately we all lose when that happens. Best of luck to you and have a safe holiday season.

76 Sportwagon December 20, 2013 at 6:25 AM

I have a friend with a catalytic converter on his wood stove. Does this exempt him from the ordnance?
Go out for a walk on a cold night… you can easily tell when someone is burning as the smoke can’t get above the cold air. For me personally, I have a hard time breathing as I walk by.

77 Darwin December 20, 2013 at 8:24 AM

It’s because we coddle the weak that the world is overpopulated.

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