Spare the Air Day Issued for Thursday – Wood Burning Banned in the Bay Area

December 25, 2013 17:00 pm · 32 comments


The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has announced that Thursday Dec. 26 will be a “Winter Spare the Air” day, meaning it is illegal to burn wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel indoors or outdoors.

There has been no recent rain, winds are light and the mid-week forecast calls for dry, mild weather, which means pollutants that have built up close to the ground will remain stagnant and the air will be unhealthy to breathe, district officials said.

Children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions are particularly vulnerable to health problems on such days, and Spare the Air days are meant to help them breathe easier by keeping the air as clean as possible, officials said.

First-time violations of the ban will be met with a fine of $100, with the option of taking a wood-smoke awareness class instead of paying the penalty. Subsequent violations mean a fine of $500 or more.

Residents can check the daily burn status by visiting the air district’s website at or calling (877) 4-NO-BURN.


1 ChrisK December 25, 2013 at 5:33 PM

How ironic Santa gives coal to bad people and this what is OK to burn but not wood, and gas. And of course Nuclear power. AOK! But $100 fine for burning natural wood. I don’t think I could say anything that has not been said already in regards sot his insane agency. Except I Hope a coal burning plant opens up up wind of each of their homes, a gas plant, pipeline laid under their property and a nuclear plant opens in their hometown, to make electricity I will use to keep warm and be happy and not have to pay a dime. It will be Karma. When coal burns in their back yards to make clean energy for me to use, you will see Karma.

2 Mark December 25, 2013 at 6:00 PM

My fire is burning so well right now I’m sure it will last into Thursday. Oh well.

3 Annoyed December 25, 2013 at 7:30 PM

My PG&E bill last month was almost $500 because I could not use my fireplace for several days… and my cord of wood is just sitting there in the yard. I just know someone at Spare the Air connected to PG&E is making a ton of money off us this month. Can’t wait until someone exposes these jokers.

4 Free Wood December 25, 2013 at 7:34 PM

I would like to take this time to turn in my firewood.and all of my rights as described by the Constitution Of The United States.

5 @Free Wood December 25, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Specifically, which right from the Constitution do STA days violate?

6 Bobfshed December 25, 2013 at 11:02 PM

It is not fireplaces that are causing the pollution In the Bay Area. That is truth.

7 anon666 December 25, 2013 at 11:12 PM

The comments in these Spare The Air day posts make me realize why I hate the people that live around here.

We keep our house cold (usally 63°-65º) and don’t run the heater often. When we do get cold we put on more clothes or grab a blanket. During the summer we see temps in the 90s inside and deal with it.

They aren’t doing this to punish anyone, it’s because the air quality sucks.

8 Bobfshed December 25, 2013 at 11:19 PM

If you think the pollution in the BayArea is cased by fireplaces then you’re nota critical thinker. Forget about wood for just a second and ask yourself what am I doing to reduce pollution. Don’t say we’ll i get on Claycord and tell wood burners how bad they are. Give specific examples of what you are doing to improve the air InThe BayArea! This is not about wood. Everything you do contributes to air pollution in both in the winter and the summer.

9 Ted K. December 25, 2013 at 11:35 PM

Burn tires in protest to draconian BAAQMD policies.

10 @Bobfshed December 25, 2013 at 11:57 PM

I’ll tell you what I’m doing to reduce pollution: I don’t use my fireplace on spare the air days. Stop your whining and grow a pair. Put on a sweatshirt if you’re cold.

11 12gauge December 26, 2013 at 12:18 AM

some of you may be ok with giving away your rights, but I’m not. nobody cares about your spare the air days. our air is a million times cleaner than other metropolitan areas. screw baaqmd. banning wood fires is not the solution at all and it’s laughable to think that it is being blamed for respiratory illnesses. I will not allow the state government or its agencies to say if I can heat my house via fireplace or not. and claycord can go along trying to say how the baaqmd is not the bad guy and how it is all the “science” behind it. B.S. I’m with Ted k. the rim fire and other major wildfires may cause respiratory illness, but a thousand or so people burning for about 5 hours is not going to cause respiratory problems.

12 Pro Fi December 26, 2013 at 12:56 AM


1. I don’t burn wood on STA days
2. I use BART to commute to work. Adds 30 minutes both ways but saves wear & tear + gas.
3. I bundle up on cold evenings… wear layers and don’t use the gas heater. I only turn on electric heaters to heat up the room if it is bitter cold. The two Big Pups heat the bed up for us quite nicely… so they are allowed to sleep with us on the cold nights. I don’t usually run the AC in the summer… spend lotsa time outside under the shade. Only time it gets run is when it is over 100, bcuz the dogs start getting sick.
4. I turn down the water heater so that it’s not working overtime to heat water constantly.
5. I cook with natural gas & propane… unless I am smoking meats… maybe once a month.
6. I limit my travel to run errands in the car to twice a week. And I shop locally to limit the amount of travel time and support local businesses. When it is within walking distance, I enjoy the exercise.
7. I use the outdoor laundry line to dry my clothes most of the time. Electricity on the dryer if and when its’ needed.
8. All the appliances get turned off at night… not even a nite lite.

My PG&E runs between 40-75 per month.

I am at the point I could care less what the rest of you do… I am good with my choices. You choose to burn… I choose not to. For me it is just the right thing to do… for me. I do not feel like my rights are being eroded.

What scares the hell out of me is legislation like the US Patriot Act. It restricted our REAL rights as citizens.. and it was passed because of fear mongering propaganda.Only three of the original previsions are still active: “roving wiretaps, searches of business records (the “library records provision”), and conducting surveillance of “lone wolves”—individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups.” And while Obama agreed to continue these provisions, the whole package really limited Americans civil liberties, courtesy of a Republican led

So there ya go Bobfshed. There is my rationale for thinking that maybe the whole STA thing is really not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. As I said previously: You still get to vote; you can still carry a weapon and you can still speak your mind. Focus on the real issues and not a red herring that detracts from the REAL DEAL. If I don’t follow the law, then I give up the right to fight the real infringements on my REAL rights… just the way I feel about it.

13 I'm The Urban Spaceman December 26, 2013 at 1:26 AM

I went hiking today…around Noon in Castle Rock Park…I took a right turn at Interpretive Post 6, and followed the single track trail up the side of the hill…at the summit there was a clear shot of the Castle Rocks Formation…just a few hundred yards away as the Furshlugginer Crow flies…and the air was thick with haze. We need some rain.

14 Safety Second December 26, 2013 at 6:21 AM

Posts No.7 & 10… What’s it like to be useful idiots?

15 Kalifornia Native December 26, 2013 at 8:36 AM

My Kerosun heater is glowin and keepin us warm……..

16 Mongoose December 26, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Somehow I knew this was all Bush’s fault.

17 Anonymous December 26, 2013 at 9:39 AM

My criticism of the BAAQMD is simple:
1. They wont change their policy of no burn days once they make the decision , even if the weather changes.
2. They wont disclose the name of the actual person who makes the decision.
3. They treat the whole District as one entity.

Having said that, I noticed one neighbor burning yesterday. The smoke was settling over about a block. Un good.

A few other things;

1. You dont have a constitutional right to burn wood. I’ve checked the whole Constitution and you can take my word for it.

2. The Patriot act, which some wack job brought up, has nothing to do with anything. It was passed with bi partisan support, so stop blaming Republicans. What you call “Fear mongering” had something to do with 9-11, which killed about 3,000 Americans , you could look it up. When one says “Mr Obama agreeded to continue the provisions” of the Patriot Act, that is garbage. He has done so with great enthusiasm, and properly so. Even cranked up the drone strikes, way more then George Bush. Big time Obama lovers dont even want to discuss that. Bush tortured terrorists, Obama just kills them.

3. The weather pattern sucks. The air is still.

4. This subject brings out the best of the tin foil hat crowd. If you tell us so bravely that you are going to burn, be sure and add your address.Easy to be brave anonymously, tell us a general area where you plan to burn. Im holding my breath.

5. See item 1.

That is all.

18 Pro Fi December 26, 2013 at 9:41 AM

@ Safety Second – What’s it like being a useless idiot?

19 Pro Fi December 26, 2013 at 9:56 AM

First off… not a whack job thank you very much… I was making the point that actually the conspiracy against burning wood is pretty freeking low on the scale of civil liberties. Many of the “woodies” on this site have stated that the BAAQMD is similar to the Nazi Party of Germany. THAT was the reason for bringing up the Patriot Act. And the Patriot Act took away far more civil liberties then the BAAQMB ever could. I didn’t say Obama was against the provisions, quite the opposite. I do not believe we should have forgone the rights we have as Americans because of 9/11. By doing so, we fundamentally changed the way we lived and in essence they succeeded. I am not a conspiracy theorist, and I do not support any political party, I vote on the issues and not the people… so there ya go.

Other than that… excellent points all around.

20 Burn Baby Burn December 26, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Fires for cooking are not prohibited during Winter Spare the Air Alerts. So if your going to light up that fireplace, remember to have your bag of chestnuts nearby.

21 Anonymous December 26, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Dear Pro fi

Tell me, what civil liberty did you give up? If you wanted to call an Al quida person in Pakistan, I guess you might feel infringed upon.

When you instructed us that the highjackers “fundamentally changed the way we live” what does that mean? We already had a less robust TSA in action prior to 9-11. With a warrant , the FBI could monitor your phone calls and your bank accounts.

I accuse you of fuzzy thinking. My proof is that you are all over the Republicans for the Patriot Act, which they helped write and voted for. So did the Democrats: The vote was 98-2 in the Senate and 357- 66 in the House. You can have your opinions, but you dont get to make up your own facts.

When you write something and you let obvious bias influence you to the point of ridiculousness, few people listen. Therefore I ban you from Claycord for 30 days.

22 Pro Fi December 26, 2013 at 11:15 AM

ROLMFAO – I think if you reviewed my prior posts you would see I am hardly biased.And no…. I am thinking with a VERY clear head. The Patriot Act was drafted and introduced by Republicans… I can’t make that up. And yes it was passed with bi-partisan support… I never disagreed with that either. Never did I say “Bad Republicans”…. you all are so used to playing political games you inferred that from my statement. And no one has addressed my original concern… equating the BAAQMB to the Nazi party… which was point in the first place.

Thank you for banning me… I can now go spend my time on much more important things…. on second thought… I think I’ll stick around. This gets more interesting by the hour.

23 They Screwed Up December 26, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Steady wind of 9 mph with gusts to 16 mph visibility 9 miles at Buchanan Field.

24 Bobfshed December 26, 2013 at 12:20 PM

We are having STA days because of the production and burning of petroleum products. It’s not being caused by fireplaces.

25 Anonymous December 26, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Pro fi,

I’m with you. We should undue the Patriot Act, stop screening people at airports, and make the FBI stop listening to your phone calls and monitoring your email. Of course the fact that several million Muslims would love nothing more then killing us should not alter the way we live, not one bit.


26 Pro Fi December 26, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Glad you agree Naif. :-) And the fact that billions of Christians that have done exactly the same in the name of God over the last 2,000 years should have no bearing on the situation whatsoever…. as a matter of fact let’s just rewrite that out of the history books completely. Religious and political zealots are on both sides of each coin… regardless of the one you flip.

And yes… I would like to be treated as an American citizen when I go into an airport, and do not want my phone & email examined my government.

27 Anon. December 26, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Boy pro Fi did you ever miss the point. His name is not naif, he was calling you a naif.

“Billions of Christians” have not systematically sought out Muslims, with the active encouragement of their holy book, for enslavement or death.You can , of course justify anything by pointing out that the good guys (thats us FYI) have at times done bad things. Fact is Christians do not as a matter of policy hunt down Muslims or scheme to get A bombs to distroy them with.

Im not sure what you mean when you tell us you want to be treated as an American citizen when you go to the airport. That would ,of course imply that , according to your logic you should be treated as a terrorist because “Billions of Christians ” have acted like a few million Muslims act today.

But I digress, you have been banned from Claycord for 30 days , so stop posting

28 Aunt Ithesis December 26, 2013 at 2:32 PM

I think some of you burners are living in the state of denial. Denial is not in California, by the way. The thermostat in my house is set at 65° in the winter. If I’m cold, I layer my clothes starting with two pair of socks, a short sleeved t-shirt, a long-sleved T-shirt, a sweatshirt and sweatpants. Sometimes I wear long underwear. Not sexy or stylish, but it gets the job done. Turning up the thermostat is not an option. The house is insulated and sometimes it’s warmer outside than inside. If so, I consider it an opportunity to turn off the furnace, open the windows, air out the house, and let the warmth in. I dry my clothes on the clothesline whenever possible. If they only get partially dry, it reduces the amount of time spent in the dryer. I open drapes to allow sunshine to warm rooms naturally in the winter. I combine my trips and plan my route to make the trip as efficient and economical as possible. I turn off the light when I leave a room to conserve electricity. PGE has some excellent resources on their website to help conserve energy and an energy audit of your home is helpful in finding ways to reduce your bill without resorting to burning in your fireplace.

@12gauge @Bobfshed. You’ve been staring at that fire so long, I guess you haven’t looked out the window to see that the hills and Mt Diablo have been obscured by a white haze. That haze is your fireplace smoke. If you can see it, you are breathing it. Woodsmoke particles are large enough to become deposited in your lungs and becone lodged there, unlike petroleum polutants which are expelled. Over time, these particles cause scaring of the delicate tissue which allow for oxygen exchange, and lung disease results. This process is irreversible. But, if you’re willing to risk that, be my guest.

29 Pro Fi December 26, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Free speech Anon. DEAL WITH IT!

Amazing… you missed the point of my original post AGAIN! The only thing you could disagree with was my comments regarding the Patriot ACT… took a while but you proved my point.When faced with the facts you zero in on what is EASY to discredit. You have failed to address the justification of using the Nazis as an analogy to the actions of the BAAQMD…. which again was the original reason for my post…. and you accuse me of picking the facts to suit my argument? And again, what justification do you have for breaking the law that impacts people’s health? THAT is the point! You got had… plain and simple…. NAIF!

bobfshed asked what those of us that don’t burn do help air quality.. gave quite a list… no response. WTF? Not up for a real discussion?

30 Anon. December 26, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Pro fi:
Please point out where I advocated breaking the law. I didn’t and you know it.I never addressed the Nazis. Despite your best efforts to draw us in.

You think you can throw out all kinds of silly stuff and people have to refute only your main point? You are right about one thing you are “Easy to discredit”

You are now banned for 60 days from Claycord

31 The Department of Logic December 26, 2013 at 5:20 PM

Has issued a warrant for Pro Fi. Charges are making little sense with a prior conviction.

32 @5 December 26, 2013 at 7:01 PM

You missed my point.DUH.

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