Sixth Straight Winter Spare the Air Alert Issued for Saturday

December 27, 2013 17:00 pm · 50 comments

saturday

A “Winter Spare the Air” alert has been issued for Saturday, making it the sixth consecutive day that wood burning will be banned in the Bay Area, air district officials said today.

Saturday’s ban, issued by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, will be the 21st of the season.

On Winter Spare the Air days, residents cannot burn wood, logs or other solid fuels indoors or outside unless their home depends solely on a woodstove or fireplace for heat.

The ban will remain in effect for a sixth straight day because a high pressure system over the Bay Area has not allowed fine particulate pollution to move out of the region, air district officials said.

Violators will have to pay a $100 fee for a first-time offense or take a wood smoke awareness class. Subsequent violations are punishable with a fine of $500 or more.

The Winter Spare the Air season runs from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28. Residents can check the daily burn status by calling (877) 4-NO-BURN or visiting the district’s website at www.sparetheair.org.

{ 50 comments }

1 Super Rich Guy December 27, 2013 at 5:24 PM

From Wikipedia:
Alleged Controversy
The placement of sensors has been controversial. For example, the City of Fremont, which is approximately 100 square miles doesn’t have a sensor but it’s 300,000 population is still required to obey restrictions. After years of denial, an employee of the District contacted the press to confirm that sensors are often placed near exhaust fans and dry cleaners to result in higher than normal readings. This allows Spare the Air days to be implemented even when conditions do not actually warrant implementation.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_Area_Air_Quality_Management_District

2 Burnin December 27, 2013 at 5:25 PM

The Health Hazards of Natural Gas
Posted on August 1, 2001 by admin
The Health Hazards of Natural Gas by Agnes Malouf and David Wimberly, Summer 2001, environmentalhealth.ca
The British medical journal, The Lancet, reported in1996 that the use of domestic gas appliances, particularly gas stoves, was linked to increased asthma, respiratory illness, and impaired lung function especially in young women. Women using gas stoves had double the respiratory problems of women cooking on electric stoves. The same study showed that using extractor fans which vented the cooking fumes outside did not reduce adverse effects of gas. … The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Clean Air Guide (1993) identified gas water heaters, furnaces, unvented space heaters and cook stoves as significant contributors to chemical contamination in the home. … ”For the chemically susceptible individual this gas may be the worst form of fuel,” writes Dr. T. G. Randolph. But surprisingly, his studies found that when gas stoves were removed from the home of a person with chemical sensitivities, not only did their health improve, but so did the health of all family members. … Natural gas brings harmful chemicals into homes through the methane it contains. Methane (which gives the flame its blue colour as it does in propane) is an asphyxiant. … “Natural gas is dangerous for several reasons,” says health advocate Helen Lofgren . … “Unplanned leaks and the danger of explosion compound the risks of gas.” … But let’s keep it far away from the air we breathe inside our houses, apartment buildings and schools. If we consider health care costs and the impact of living with illness, bringing natural gas into our homes is not a sensible choice.

3 Bob the Repairman December 27, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Wouldn’t it be easier to give us the date in July that we can burn wood in our fireplaces? Seems to me that wouldn’t be too hard to do. This every day announcement starts to get old after a while.

4 Burnin December 27, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Those of you who are burning natural gas please stop. Think of those inside and outside your homes that your are having a negative effect on by spewing toxic chemicals into the air! Buy a coat!

5 Bobfshed December 27, 2013 at 5:32 PM
6 Bobfshed December 27, 2013 at 5:56 PM

The Health Hazards of Natural Gas
Posted on August 1, 2001 by admin
The Health Hazards of Natural Gas by Agnes Malouf and David Wimberly, Summer 2001, environmentalhealth.ca
The British medical journal, The Lancet, reported in1996 that the use of domestic gas appliances, particularly gas stoves, was linked to increased asthma, respiratory illness, and impaired lung function especially in young women. Women using gas stoves had double the respiratory problems of women cooking on electric stoves. The same study showed that using extractor fans which vented the cooking fumes outside did not reduce adverse effects of gas. … The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Clean Air Guide (1993) identified gas water heaters, furnaces, unvented space heaters and cook stoves as significant contributors to chemical contamination in the home. … ”For the chemically susceptible individual this gas may be the worst form of fuel,” writes Dr. T. G. Randolph. But surprisingly, his studies found that when gas stoves were removed from the home of a person with chemical sensitivities, not only did their health improve, but so did the health of all family members. … Natural gas brings harmful chemicals into homes through the methane it contains. Methane (which gives the flame its blue colour as it does in propane) is an asphyxiant. … “Natural gas is dangerous for several reasons,” says health advocate Helen Lofgren . … “Unplanned leaks and the danger of explosion compound the risks of gas.” … But let’s keep it far away from the air we breathe inside our houses, apartment buildings and schools. If we consider health care costs and the impact of living with illness, bringing natural gas into our homes is not a sensible choice.

7 Save up to pay utility bill December 27, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Don’t be surprised if this goes on until 05 Jan. 2014.
That’s when NW at 5 to 10 mph are predicted. Two days later rain on Tues. Wed. Thur. and Fri.

8 B. Crocker December 27, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Sunday and Monday will be a “No Cooking” day for you natural gas stove people.

9 @Super Rich Guy December 27, 2013 at 6:04 PM

That graph in the link you posted should shut up bobfshed.
It shows residential wood burning as by far the largest contributor to PM2.5 emissions. If the PM2.5 emissions are as high as they are without residential wood burning, imagine how bad they would be with it.

10 Bobfshed December 27, 2013 at 6:24 PM

Wood burning includes brush fires, structural fires, forest fires….
The pollution we are experiencing at the time is not from fireplaces. It is from burning natural gas and other petroleum products. Hard to blame wood when it s banned!

11 Smoky Joe December 27, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Sounds like a smoking and grilling and mowing kinda day!

12 Smoky Joe December 27, 2013 at 6:29 PM

I usually like a large cigar while I mow….also

13 Bobfshed December 27, 2013 at 6:31 PM

The BAAQMD said when the program started that wood burning from all wood sources was 33%. Since that time said their program had reduced wood smoke by 20-25%. So, wood smoke according to the BAAQMD contributes less than 20%. 80% comes from sources other than wood. Now if you subtract out the wood burning from structural fires, brush fires, forest fires and controlled burns the contribution from fireplaces is extremely low!

14 Smoky Joe December 27, 2013 at 6:32 PM

“Violators will have to pay a $100 fee for a first-time offense or take a wood smoke awareness class. Subsequent violations are punishable with a fine of $500 or more.”

LOL, thats the get-with-the-program-brain-scrubbing re-education indoctrination Gov’t plan.

15 Anon December 27, 2013 at 6:37 PM

I’m not buying into the natural gas thing. Water Heaters? They have a flu and the fumes go Out of the home. Forced Air Furnace, same thing.
Rangetops and Ovens may be the only appliances that your argument can support.

16 Burnin December 27, 2013 at 6:41 PM

“If the PM2.5 emissions are as high as they are without residential wood burning, imagine how bad they would be with it.”
Now your getting it! The PM 2.5 is the worst it has ever been and their are no wood fires. Maybe the BAAQMD is focused on the wrong source of PM 2.5. Their program is a failure and they won’t admit it.

17 IEatBabyUnicorns December 27, 2013 at 7:03 PM

Like the new look though.

18 Billy Joel December 27, 2013 at 7:19 PM

We didn’t start the fire.

19 Burnin December 27, 2013 at 7:24 PM

@anon
My wood stove has a flu.

20 Annon December 27, 2013 at 7:36 PM

Spent yesterday in John Muir ER…xrays blood work, breathing treatment…I have namonya with a P….Plus my asthma….

21 Dennis December 27, 2013 at 8:30 PM

since wood burning fireplaces and brush fires spew millions of times the pollutants into the air as a cigarette, I suggest that the fine for smoking a cigarette be set at 1/1,000,000 of the fine for having a fire in our own fireplaces.

22 @Burnin December 27, 2013 at 8:30 PM

Too bad you’re not getting it. Residential wood burning accounted for 30% of total PM2.5 emissions before STA was mandatory. So as bad as the pollution is now, it would be 30% higher without STA days.

23 Burnin December 27, 2013 at 9:08 PM

Since we have focused on wood fires we have let the rest of the contributers to PM 2.5 and pollution increase to levels never seen before. This is worst air we have ever had and it as nothing to do with a fireplace.

24 Burnin December 27, 2013 at 9:12 PM

Residental wood burning never contributed 30%. Their number included forest fires, structural fires, controlled burns, restaurants etc.

25 Mark December 27, 2013 at 9:28 PM

Just got home from a cozy outdoor fire-pit in Martinez. Love the smell of burning oak.

26 Burnin December 27, 2013 at 9:30 PM

If you cut the amount of PM 2.5 coming from sources other than wood by only 1/4 you could burn in fireplaces and never go over the federal level for PM 2.5. Plus you woud be reducing greenhouse gasses by 1/4 at the same time.

27 Bobfshed December 27, 2013 at 9:47 PM

Banning wood fires is not the answer to cleaner air in the BayArea. I think we see that now. People should be able to use an EPA certified stove and continue to let technology make better and better stoves. This will cut down on pollution caused by burning natural gas, and PM 2.5 by building better stoves.

28 mike December 27, 2013 at 10:05 PM

please everyone stop having sex the leading cause of death among people is birth

29 Laura Zah December 27, 2013 at 10:24 PM

Well stop having sex with Mike anyway. Maybe we can smarten up the gene pool.

30 Super Rich Guy December 28, 2013 at 1:41 AM

@ 9
I hope it doesn’t shut Bobfshed up. I generally agree with his approach and appreciate the critical thinking. Often, people read the charts posted by the BAAQMD and believe them. Why? They are only offering their perspective. What we need to do is discover is an independent source that tests the air and compare the BAAQMD numbers to the independent numbers. Lastly, in lieu of the BAAQMD gathering, analyzing, and publishing this data, I’d trust a private company more to perform this service; one that has both public and private oversight. There already are air quality companies out there gathering the data, why does the government need to duplicate the services already being performed?

31 Aspirin December 28, 2013 at 8:14 AM

REPORT ALL VIOLATORS. Someone near the Clayton end of Michigan Ave has bee illegally burning. You can smell the stench every morning. I’m watching chimneys for smoke!

32 Aspirin December 28, 2013 at 8:16 AM

Mark, smells like someone is burning their garbage. Mmmmm.

33 Connie Dobbs December 28, 2013 at 9:20 AM

#31 Do you know of a better way to get rid of the evidence?

34 Boneguy1 December 28, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Hey Aspirin back in the old days we called folks like you RATS – Nice neighbor!

35 FAIL December 28, 2013 at 9:27 AM

“Their program is a failure and they won’t admit it.”
Only have to walk out your front door every night to realize that’s true.

36 Facts December 28, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Go to the National Weather Service site and check it out. I look at their site everyday and what I see forecast there REALLY makes me wonder EVEN more about the AQD forecasts.

Today winds in almost every place I checked will NOT be under 5 mph. Some it is even as high as 10! Tonight winds all over the area covered by our “friends” will even be higher, in the 10+mph. Tomorrow winds will be the same 5-10+mph. So why is it then “they” are already showing high readings and basically forecasting a SPAD??

Follow “their” talk and you will see that it changes all the time to fit “their” needs. Remember that they always say that wood smoke is the highest contributor to bad air quality? Yet no burning allowed and they still spew that wood smoke is the leading cause. They have also said that wood smoke contributes 30% of the pollution (majority or 30% which is it), well 30% does not seem like the majority to me. Of course I only know the old math not that “new” math they teach. Also if “their” rules have reduced smoke by 20- 25% then wood smoke now should only be 5-10% of the problem not the leading cause they preach.

There are also many different items that the National Weather Service map show. Two of them are air quality and air stagnation. I have yet to see one of those forecast ANY where in the so called district these do-gooders control.

Remember it was good old Mr. Jack himself that spewed forth more pollution than the Chevron fire last year when he said on the news, that there was no pollution from the fire. But had to quickly regroup and say “that none of their monitoring stations showed any particulate matter from the fire”. So where are these stations located??? None any where around a factory or refinery?? Think people! Only by bakeries and BBQ restaurants?

Remember also and these are from THEIR charts that EPA approved wood burning devices produce almost the IDENTICAL same amount of pollution as GAS burning ones and according to them it is the SAME type for both. And of course the other famous Mr. Jack saying, “I will be glad when these public hearings are over so we can pass this new law and outlaw wood burning” Stated in Concord at the Senior Citizen Center. Guess we know how he thinks and what he and his band of are up to now.

37 ChampagneKitty December 28, 2013 at 10:20 AM

I was talking to my parents on the phone on Christmas…my stepmom has a daughter living in the state of Washington…she says they have a Spare the Air program up there and the fine for violating is $1000…wow…

38 me December 28, 2013 at 10:39 AM

@Boneguy The good people at Spare the Air headquarters need our help in catching violators Boneguy. It takes a village you know. But seriously we had a former neighbor I believe called when we were having a camp fire last month, called the fire department on us, with two reasons. One was they said they though our house was on fire. Also they thought it was a spare the air day. WOW! You have to love concerned neighbors looking out for our air. But they should have just stuck to one excuse to harass us and use valuable fire department time and money, ( btw they came up to our patio, I had a camp fire, with a screen over it, all cool, but what was funny is they said they got a call ” one of your neighbors thought your home might be on fire and also said it was a spare the air day, which we told them it was not and not our job to enforce those anyway… ) ha ha , people nark off others usually as an axe to grind or because they have serious issues and want t6o get you, lie, and not for any principle kind of reason. And usually are doing far worse things themselves than what they try to use to harass others.. )

39 Bobfshed December 28, 2013 at 10:41 AM

The West County Times editorial question for next weekend: Do you think the Bay Area Winter Spare the Air Program is a success?
Have fun with that one.

40 Facts December 28, 2013 at 12:04 PM

My bad. 30% reduced by 25% would mean 22.5% left. Typing faster than thinking. But still 30 25 23 whatever % is still not the majority. There are still 77% of other things (gas furnaces, cars, trucks, refineries etc.) causing the majority. Yet “they” still say no wood burning WITHOUT saying as they do in the summer,” Recommend that you do not BBQ, drive your vehicles mow lawns, use blowers/weedeaters etc”. Remember the key word is, RECOMMEND. Not as they dictate now NO wood burning but no RECOMMENDATIONS on the other items. Funny isn’t it if it wasn’t so contradictory.

41 Bobfshed December 28, 2013 at 12:38 PM

@facts
Wood smoke fom fireplaces is even lower. That 22.5% includes all wood smoke, forest fires, brush burning, controlled burns, structural fires, restaurants…. The amount from residential home wood heating is very small.

42 Burnin December 28, 2013 at 12:50 PM

@facts
You are exactly right. The reason we are having STAD is because the BAAQMD and the media only addressed one very small part of the issue.
No wood fires and they air is worse than it has ever been. They are giving people a false impression that as long as they yell no wood smoke then everyone can just go ahead and do whatever they want, BBQ, drive, fly, mow lawns. These are major contributors to PM 2.5.
Tomorrow there will be thousands of people in Oakland at the football game, BBQing, driving and burning whatever. The BAAQMD and the media should ask people to take public transportation, bring lunch instead of Bbqing. They could go to the parking lot and hand out flyers to people asking them not to BBQ on spare the air days.
Of course this will not happen and the air will be bad. They will blame it on fireplaces.

43 Subterfuge December 28, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Aspirin;
Carrying on the traditions of the Stasi?

44 fulubulu December 28, 2013 at 5:31 PM

I ran for my life…then the smoke got me. I got bronchitis. Ain’t nobody got time for dat

45 RumDog December 28, 2013 at 6:08 PM

In the 1950s, you were allowed to burn
your trash in a metal barrel in your backyard
in Claycord. It was learned that this practice
caused air pollution and eventually the practice
was banned. The population of Clayton, for example, was roughly sonewhere under 1000. There is much evidence to support the theory that wood smoke from
fireplace fires contributes to air pollution and
the population has increased substantially since
the 1950s. Fireplace fires will, of necessity, have
to be banned completely as the population continues
to grow, especially if a large number of people
continue to ignore STADs.

46 fulubulu December 28, 2013 at 6:12 PM

A little more rum, than dog, there.

47 RumDog December 28, 2013 at 6:12 PM

In the 1950s, you were allowed to burn
your trash in a metal barrel in your backyard
in Claycord. It was learned that
caused air pollution and eventually the practice
was banned. The population of Clayton, for example
was roughly somewhere under 1000. There is much
evidence to support the theory that wood smoke from
fireplace fires contributes to air pollution and
the population has increased substantially since
the 1950s. Fireplace fires will, of necessity, have
to be banned completely as the population continues
to grow, especially if a large number of people
continue to ignore STADs.

48 Burnin December 28, 2013 at 6:24 PM

The people ignoring STAD are people driving their cars, having BBQ’s, restaurants using wood to cook, airports, refineries, landscapers, ships and people using natural gas and electricity. These are the real causes of the bad air you breath today. Look in the mirror, its you!

49 Facts December 28, 2013 at 6:47 PM

@RumDog

I remember those days of barrel burning as well. But people also as you say burned “TRASH” . The burn barrels were supposed to be for yard waste not garbage. And yes, the conclusion was that the burning was causing issues but that was 50-60 years ago and NOW they say that wood burning is bad? Why did they wait so long?? I do not think that people believe that there are no issues with wood burning but there are also lots of other issues to be dealt with that are far worse than burning wood for heat. I also believe that nobody would disagree with you on FIREPLACES are not a best idea for burning. Yes there are the “looks” of a nice fire but there is the fact that lots of wasted energy does go up the chimney. The majority of people here speaking are using EPA approved wood burning devices, wood stoves, inserts and pellet stoves. These devices put no more pollution out than your GAS furnace and it is of the same type of pollution plus they can have glass doors so you can still see a nice LOW emission fire burning. This are facts and figures provided by your “friendly AQB”!

50 Facts December 28, 2013 at 7:04 PM

@Bobfshed and Burnin..

Thanks for the positive comments.

Do you two also know that Contra Costa has cleaner air than surrounding counties? and that the pollution we get here is from either upper/lower San Joaquin Valley and from Oakland/Richmond/San Francisco and the lower peninsula? Do you also know how much “controlled burning” and agricultural burning is going on right now? LOTS more than people here think. But then again it is easier to blame some small people and eliminate them than address the other real problems. You both also know that “Big Business” can “buy” pollution “credits” where as the little person just gets the shaft.

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