Winter Spare the Air Alert Issued for Monday – Wood Burning Banned

December 23, 2013 8:00 am · 36 comments


The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued a Winter Spare the Air alert for today, its 16th alert this season.

The Spare the Air alert bans wood burning both indoors and outdoors due to unhealthy pollution levels throughout the Bay Area.

“Dry weather is forecast for the week and threatens to cause high levels of pollution to build up through the Christmas holiday,” air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said.

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 or, by calling (877) 4-NO-BURN or by signing up for Spare the Air iPhone or Android apps.


1 Bobfshed December 23, 2013 at 8:05 AM

Over 80% of the winter time PM2.5 is caused by sources other than wood fireplaces! 100 % of summer time PM 2.5 is cased by sources other than wood fireplaces!
This data is from the BAAQMD.

2 Michael 2 December 23, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Another fire ban for Christmas .Does that surprise anyone?The question is will they just issue a warning or will they enforce a ban .I think they will en force the ban ,they don’t care about traditions . they will flex their power.They could give the people a break on Christmas.

3 whatever floats your boat December 23, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Just a bunch of hogwash. I’m going to light a fire in my wood stove as soon as I get home. BAAQMD is another form of communism.

4 The Mamba December 23, 2013 at 8:50 AM

I’d imagine to get caught you’d have to be burning between 9-4 when these government workers are on the clock. Just have a nice fire at night and you’ll never get bothered.

5 lloyd December 23, 2013 at 8:57 AM

next will be spare the air Month……… Then YEAR! Total BS! Light it up!

6 kids December 23, 2013 at 8:58 AM

is spare the air only for bayarea? or is it all of ca

7 Get Your Fire On December 23, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Fire in the fireplace.
Merry Christmas : )

8 Bobfshed December 23, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Spare the air only covers wood burning at home. Everything else that contributes to pollution is good to go 24/7.

9 Mac December 23, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Mamba…watch out for any neighbors that see you burning.
People can`t do it themselves, so they might be pissed to see others doing it.

10 Bobfshed December 23, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Indicator EN.4.a Air quality
San Francisco

Descriptive Title: Proportion of population living in an area with 10 ug/m3 or higher PM 2.5 concentration and proportion of households living in an area with a total cancer risk greater than or equal to 100 cases in 1 million
Why Is This An Indicator Of Health and Sustainability?
Motor vehicle emissions, power plants, and refineries are the predominant sources of fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5). Several large-scale studies demonstrate that increased exposure to PM2.5 is associated with detrimental cardiovascular outcomes, including increased risk of death from ischemic heart disease, higher blood pressure, and coronary artery calcification.a

Motor vehicles and other forms of fossil fuel combustion emit several toxic air contaminants that are either known or probable human carcinogens, including benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and 1,3-butadiene. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that “mobile sources of air toxics account for as much as half of all cancers attributed to outdoor sources of air toxics.”b

Additionally, in June 2012, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, updated their classification of diesel engine exhaust from a probable human carcinogen to carcinogenic to humans. The update was based on sufficient evidence that exposure to diesel exhaust can increase the risk of developing lung cancer and is positively associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer.c

Models were created by SFDPH in conjunction with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to quantify total PM 2.5, TOG and DPM concentrations from all sources in the city. Cancer risk was calculated based on the cumulative TOG and DPM exposures. Estimated PM 2.5 concentration and cancer risk were assigned to points on a 20 meter grid. PM 2.5 values were interpolated using spline interpolation. Population exposure estimates to PM 2.5 were created using the ArcGIS zonal statistics spatial analysis tool using residential lots as the “zones.” Lots with a maximum PM 2.5 concentration value of 10 ug/m3 or more were selected as falling within an air quality hazard zone. The population that was estimated to have a cancer risk of 100 or more in 1 million was determined by performing a “Select by Location” query on city residential lots that were within 20 meters of a location that was modeled to have a cancer risk of 100 or more per 1 million. The population that was estimated to be living in those lots was summed by neighborhood and divided by the total population in the neighborhood to calculate the percent of the population exposed.

11 The Mamba December 23, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Thanks Bobfshed, what kind of idiots use spline interpolation???

12 Here's the ppl you can thank December 23, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Hey everyone…let’s all thank the nice folks at BAAQMD…for this total communist law…seriously?! Even flipping burgers at mcdonalds seems more productive than what these morons do..

Starting with Jeff Aaseth, to Jocelyn Orpia, to the bottom of the list with Gary Zoppo…THANKS GUYS!! Doubt any of you will choke on the air, but I hope you all choke on a big ole Christmas weenie!!

13 Bobfshed December 23, 2013 at 10:28 AM

The BAAQMD and the SFDPH!

14 Michelle December 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Time to turn on the fireplace. Merry Christmas! :-)

15 Mark December 23, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Will be burning tomorrow and Wednesday regardless.

16 Notblowingsmoke December 23, 2013 at 11:01 AM

The BAAQMD and the ARB or CARB are just a couple of tentacles of the EPA.
These people encourage people to turn in “violators” of their rules, regulations or mandates etc.
CARB has a “Turn in a Smoking Vehicle” program. People that start turning in their neighbors was done by the Nazi’s during the ww2 yrs.
These people are not accountable to anyone it seems.
A good part of the money they make comes from fines of violators.

17 Anon777 December 23, 2013 at 11:24 AM

One more day and the BAAQMD can kiss my A, cuz I’m having a fire on Xmas Eve and Day no matter what!

18 Policy of Truth December 23, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Wow, you folks sure are creative. One would think all of that misguided anger would keep you all warm inside. Here is a thought, why don’t you put all of that energy into doing some research, attending a meeting, and asking questions to people that can actually answer your inquiries. That is what a normal behavior would dictate. Or is it that you are simply looking for affirmation from other people as ignorant and angry as you?

It may just take a little longer for some of you to realize that screaming at the internet and making hollow threats does nothing but provide entertaining reading for the rest of us.

Flame on!

19 Jojo potato December 23, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Total BS. I’m in the parking lot near H Depot off diamond blvd and the wind is blowing pretty strong from the north.

20 Mike T December 23, 2013 at 12:08 PM

What this all is all about is more liberal feel good crap. We will continue to have these silly “spare the air days” as long as we have idiots who are willing to give up other peoples rights, as long as it won’t encroach on their own small minded domains.

21 Noganav December 23, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Sadly the ARB is taking away Christmas fires from the general population with their “rules” which they have made into now “laws”. These people are appointed and not voted in . Most receive (not earn) large salaries ($100K) with full benefits and pensions. I would rather see more cash programs going to homeowners to upgrade their wood burning heating units from standard fireplaces or old crude wood stoves. New wood stoves will burn hotter, cleaner and use less wood than older technology. Consider that if you can burn the smoke you get nearly 50% more heat from your wood into your home and you help keep the smoke particles out of the air. If you have a new epa approved stove and burn dry wood you will likely never be noticed on no burn days. The stack on a new designed wood stove will burn so clean you cannot see visible smoke except for start up. The glass on the door will remain crystal clean and the ash will be white.

22 Bobfshed December 23, 2013 at 1:43 PM

The freeways in the Bay Area are back up with millions of cars spewing pollution, there are thousands of people at Candlestick park with their BBQ’s and cars,trucks, limo’s ….. Thousands of jets taking off fom airports, ships and trucks spewing diesel particulate. Looks like the only people who are Sparing The Air are the people who heat their homes with wood!

23 Policy of Truth December 23, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Last time I checked our local member (John Giola) of the ARB is an elected official as a member of the Board of Supervisors.
You need to stop confusing the fact that while appointed to the board, they must currently be an elected official (unless appointed as a public member). This technically makes it a requirement to be in an elected position to serve. Not sure where you are coming up with ARB salaries (100k?) for the members. Your assumptions are incorrect which takes away from any points you may have been trying to make.

Personally I would like to see more truth and less assumptions, projections and innuendo. Would that be too much to ask when trying to get your point across?

24 You may mock the air quality laws, but I can't even see Mt.Diablo today December 23, 2013 at 2:06 PM

there’s so much haze in the air. So stick THAT where the sun don’t shine, all you who complain about “no burn days” being unnecessary.

25 Bobfshed December 23, 2013 at 2:20 PM

I agree! let technology lead the drive to build clener and cleaner stoves. It is really to bad that the BAAQMD is aganist this approach for wood, however they are for this approach for the burning of petroleum products.

26 Vindex December 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM

It doesn’t stop with wood fires. Go to Europe to see what is next. When I was in Greece they had a law that only certain numbers of cats could drive each day. It all depended on the last number of your license plate. It’s coming unless we put a line in the sand here. BAAQMD you are a joke and you are unconstitutional.

27 Bobfshed December 23, 2013 at 2:32 PM

There is only one air quality law. No wood fires on Spare The Air days. You can do anything else you want to as long as you use petroleum to do it. Check out the freeways and the football game in SF and you will see where the haze is coming from. Millions of people burning petroleum products in the Bay Area, millions!

28 Bobfshed December 23, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Just saw an overhead shot of Candlestick Park on the news. The amount smoke coming from there is unbelievable! You could barely see the park.

29 @ Policy of Truth 18 & 23 December 23, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Ah, what would a discussion of government policies be without a sel-appointed leftist know-it-all to jump in and exhibit their ignorance for us.

Today it’s “Policy of truth” who hasn’t bothered to understand the discussion to this point, or he would have seen the facts on display, most of them from the BAAQMD themselves. Educate yourself before spouting off son.

“Personally I would like to see more truth and less assumptions, projections and innuendo.” Fine idea junior – why don’t you start with yourself.

But PoT hasn’t finished entertaining us – “Last time I checked our local member (of the BAAQMD) is an elected official as a member of the Board of Supervisors.”

True, but irrelevent – last time I checked the discussion was about the BAAQMD, not the Board of Supes, and Giola was APPOINTED to the BAAQMD Board. Therefore neither he, nor any other BAAQMD board member, can be kicked off of their board seat. Try to keep up son.

30 Policy of Truth December 23, 2013 at 3:31 PM

@ Vindex,

Thanks for the Holiday laugh! I’m hoping it was a typo…

“Go to Europe to see what is next. When I was in Greece they had a law that only certain numbers of cats could drive each day.”

Would want too many cats driving on our roadways. It’s bad enough that we need to look after the quality of the air that we breathe but allowing cats behind the wheel is where I draw the line in the sand!!!

31 Bobfshed December 23, 2013 at 3:36 PM

The BAAQMD manipulate data to fit their needs. They have a pie chart that shows this high chuck coming fom “wood fires” . It does not say wood fires from fireplaces! Wood fires is everything from forest fires, brush fires controlled burns, structural fires… They split petroleum into a whole bunch of little categories to make petroleum look like a small amount.

32 BAAQMD = Modern Day Gangsters December 23, 2013 at 4:08 PM

I just called to inquire what would happen if I burned tomorrow. A guy I talked to by the name of David Garrison claimed and I quote, ” the last guy that asked a bunch of questions” ( I was asking questions about the validity of the science behind it when CPK, refineries, etc. can continue to burn) “ended up a year in Bryant street and five years of probation”.

Basically, you can’t ask questions challenging them or they throw you in jail.

How is this not like Nazi Germany again for all you STA supporters?

If you don’t believe me call and ask for David Garrison and see for yourself.

33 Policy of Truth December 23, 2013 at 4:15 PM

@ 29,

Your post was nothing more than a train wreck of contradictions and internet shouting. (You should check yourself before you wreck yourself). Let’s see if you can keep up.

Leftist? Now that’s rich! Got anymore wrong assumptions, “son”? Strike one.

I am no more self-appointed than you are-the difference is you can’t handle the truth. It’s why you make it up as you go along. Pity. Strike two.

Regarding Giola being a County Supervisor…My point was directed at the fact that all board members must be elected-not which boards, councils, etc. they are elected too. Are you starting to catch up or was that was lost on someone as adult as you? Remind me, where did you pick up your political degree? Strike three.

Clearly you can’t get past the understanding of how a majority of boards are done by appointment of elected officials. You are foolish to think all boards should be filled by election. If so, I imagine you would be first in line to shell out the expenses of hundreds of additional elections throughout the state? What’s that, you didn’t think that far ahead junior? Why am I not surprised… You’re out.

Thanks for letting me get in your head, rent free. (Talk about a Christmas bonus!)

Sorry Darth, but you are not my father-don’t pretend to be. You just don’t measure up.

34 Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire December 23, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Remember the nine days in a row of spare the air days due to poor air quality? Well, the clearer air did not arrive until it was a windy day. While I certainly support making efforts to preserve our air quality, fireplace burning isn’t to blame for it all, and by telling people you cannot burn on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day isn’t going to make a huge difference.

One more thing, it’s been said before, if you burn a clean fire, seasoned wood and not trash, you can’t even tell you’re having a fire because it is clean burning.

35 Pro Fi December 23, 2013 at 4:56 PM

@ BAAQMD = Modern Day Gangsters – So I am confused… gangsters or Nazis? Just want to make sure I get this straight.

36 Ben Dover December 23, 2013 at 9:26 PM

Lets ALL burn on Christmas!!!!!
What are they going to do? Throw EVERYONE in jail?
I bet it will be alright to burn the violators in an open pit if they do not obey.?!?

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