2014 to Begin with Another Winter Spare the Air Alert

December 31, 2013 17:30 pm · 33 comments


The new year is starting in the Bay Area the same way the old year ended — with a Winter Spare the Air alert banning wood burning throughout the region.

A persistent dry, cold-weather pattern has resulted in a buildup of pollution and has prompted the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to issue the alert for Wednesday.

It is the 24th alert the air district has issued since the Winter Spare the Air season started Nov. 1. Today, New Year’s Eve, is also a Spare the Air day.

During a Winter Spare the Air day, wood burning is banned both indoors and outdoors except for homes that depend on it as the lone source of heat.

Air district officials say New Year’s Eve firework shows, such as the one along The Embarcadero in San Francisco tonight, are not subject to the ban.

The recent flurry of Winter Spare the Air has been due to persistent high-pressure cold weather systems that trap unhealthy particulate matter close to the ground, according to the air district.

Wood burning is the major source of air pollution in the Bay Area during the winter and is particularly harmful to children, the elderly and people with respiratory conditions, district officials said.

Those found to be violating the wood-burning ban will have to pay a $100 fine or take a wood-smoke awareness class. Subsequent violations are subject to tickets of $500 and higher.

The daily burn status can be found on the air district’s website at www.sparetheair.org, by calling (877) 4-NO-BURN or by downloading Spare the Air iPhone or Android smartphone apps.


1 No thanks December 31, 2013 at 5:34 PM

I refuse to participate. This is a bunch of bull. I’ll keep my freedom and my fires. You want to come take my freedom, try and take it.

2 burn baby December 31, 2013 at 5:43 PM

No!!! Burn on.

3 the other jj December 31, 2013 at 5:45 PM

thanks again neighbors for not ratting on me for having clean wood burning fires in my stove to heat the house for the family and I !!

4 Libtard December 31, 2013 at 5:46 PM

But I can still smoke weed right?

5 Librertarian December 31, 2013 at 6:17 PM

When I called to complain about the validity of the ban on holidays, I was threatened by a Mr. David Garrison with a year in jail and five years probation for simply questioning them.

That coupled with their request that you report you neighbor is eerily like the early years of the rise of the Nazis.

What happens when David Garrison and Jack Broadbent decide they don’t like your religion? Remember your history people, or we are doomed to repeat it.

6 Frank C. December 31, 2013 at 7:13 PM


If he did that, then we need to find the section of the penal code that supports it……and CALL the BAAQMD on it.

Any threats by them should result in their removal from office.

What’s his phone number?

7 Burnin December 31, 2013 at 7:29 PM

It’s amazing that the BAAQMD and the media know that the bad air is not from people heating their homes with wood, however they have put themselves in a position that they have to keep blaming wood fires! They are making themselves look like idiots! But, I guess they are.

8 Fairness December 31, 2013 at 7:52 PM

Then why are they allowing fireworks if it is a no burn day?? Time to recall the entire BAAQMD. Media needs to question them and hold them accountable for fairness in all areas of air quality.

9 JRConcord December 31, 2013 at 7:54 PM

I will keep smoking and keep my comments to myself. ;-)
Peace and love

10 Time to fire them all. December 31, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Can we do something? Start a petition to eliminate this agency and fire them all? I would not only sign. I would volunteer to stand and get signatures. How can we do it? We complain. But we need to do something. This is not right.

11 KenInConcord December 31, 2013 at 8:50 PM

mark my words, in two years they will just ban burning for the whole winter period!

They did it to new DIRT BIKES for a certain time of the year. Red sticker, Green sticker bikes…… Out of control!

12 for fawks sake December 31, 2013 at 10:45 PM

We are screwed. You are all so brain dead.

13 Anonymous January 1, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Know what? There is a poster that keeps saying that he called to complained and was threatened with jail. I do not believe him.I called to complain and they were polite (and wrong). You don’t call a public agency and get threatened with jail unless you say something really stupid, like physically threaten them.

So poster 6 shut up

14 Incognito January 1, 2014 at 8:42 AM

It’s my opinion, as this continues… you will see more and more ignoring these spare the air day notices.

15 The rat January 1, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Seriously. Is it any wonder why the planet is rapidly deteriorating?

I wonder where all the nut jobs on line come from. Apparently they are all from claycord.

Calm down people. Try looking at the bigger picture for once in your tiny lives.

And if anyone believes #6, well then I know who was behind 9/11. It was the mayor and GWB!!!

16 Librertarian January 1, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Anonymous #15,

I called to question the validity of the STA day being called after meteorologist Lloyd Linsey Young said on talk 910 that the meteorologists for the BAAQMD were wrong.

I did not threaten anyone with anything, I was simply asking some tough questions which they didn’t want to answer. Mr. David Garrison got on the phone and said (and I quote), “The last guy that asked questions about the validity of STA days got a year in Bryant Street and five years probation.” I then said, “for questioning the validity of the science?” He replied (and I quote), “our lawyers are really aggressive about that stuff”.

I have since filed a public records request for all records regarding the case Mr. David Garrison was referring to. I will happily provide any findings to the mayor of claycord.

For anyone that doesn’t believe me (including you Anonymous #15), you can call Mr. Garrison yourself at the BAAQMD, he is some kind of supervisor for the people that answer the complaint line.

17 ChrisK January 1, 2014 at 9:54 AM

People may or may not say anything. 1. Unless you have it on recording, it is extremely hard to prove what someone said. Or how they meant it. He could simply say he was kidding. Or that he did not say it…. That is why people tend to be more careful what they write. You can also say things and by the way you say them the meaning is understood. writing is black and white. Sarcasm missed etc. So my point is, even if they did say these things on the phone, it won’t matter. Now if it came in writing. That would be another story. Did they record your conversation? If I was them, I would require that for every phone call we got. Just because there are some crazy people, also people upset, and to protect my phone operators etc… So I am upset and disagree with this agency. That is no excuse to threaten them, or them threaten me. This should be handled like it is, in respectful debate and maybe a petition drive, other ways. Not with threats. I will bet you this group has got their share of threats as well. And if they are smart, if they are not already doing it, they should required all phone calls to be recorded, and have the caller have to agree with it… If they can do that.

18 @The rat January 1, 2014 at 10:21 AM

We are looking at the bigger picture, the gradual erosion of our rights, with a government that keeps increasing its control over us.

You are the one being short-sighted. And the fact that you can’t see that means your brainwashing is complete.

19 Huh? January 1, 2014 at 10:25 AM

I still dont believe that they would threaten anyone for questioning the validity of their (sometimes ) junk science. Aggressive lawyers dont get someone charged for asking questions.
Bryant St in SF, is I think, not where sentenced prisoners go.

This story is so nuts that its simply not believable.

20 Killjoy January 1, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Do you REALLY want to spare the air? Make smoking illegal.

21 Dreamers January 1, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Talk about a GIANT waste of money. There are 21 directors and HUNDREDS of employees. I don’t believe # 15 is full of BS. Both names he mentioned are in the directory as supervisors. I totally agree with #9. They lit off 7 TONS of fireworks. Their fireworks trumped my fireplace.
They really need to call these STA’s more fairly. Claycord is in the Eastern district. Of the 21 days they called STA the eastern district was only over the 100 mark 3 days. Santa Clara Valley and northern districts are usually over. Why punish all?
Hey #17; if your pan–es get in such a wad reading these blogs UNPLUG YOUR COMPUTER. Might want to double your psychosis meds before you pop a gasket.

22 The Authority January 1, 2014 at 12:11 PM

It is so cold today. Gonna enjoy sharing a Holiday with my family in front of the fire place. I hereby declare a Spare the Bureaucracy Day!

23 Smokey the Bandit January 1, 2014 at 12:48 PM

I doubt Dave Garrisson ever imagined his 15 minutes of fame would be created by being a prick to the public. I guess he forgot his roots. I imagine this is quite common for public servants.

24 political cowards January 1, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Another one tomorrow. At least have the guts to just ban wood burning. I think if they did it all at once people would realize how controlling they’ve gotten. #20 is right, gradually entrenching themselves in every aspect of our lives is their m.o.

25 Facts January 1, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Well the Board has made another giant blunder. Remember how “they” say once they have made a forecast they do not change it. Well take a look at the readings posted for today and tomorrow. Last time I looked(this AM) Santa Clara area was listed down in the low 100′s now it has been INCREASED to over 150! Seems like they change HIGHER but not lower!

This is piece meal control. They will keep picking away at small groups and different things we do. Divide and conquer. Keep putting out the same stuff over and over and people will soon come to believe it as truth.

This is the same Board that just yesterday said they were not going after the fireworks as it is just a “onetime thing so difference in its effects”. Seems like they were afraid and rightly so of the repercussions of people. The freedoms when it comes to fireworks, legal ones or even the illegal ones. This is the same Board that says wood smoke is harmful yet does not regulate slash burning in any of the counties under their thumb. but steps all over people who heat their homes by burning some wood. Slash burning is WOOD burning. The same Board that posted particulate matter amounts at public hearings that show according to their figures EPA Certified wood burning devices put out no more particulate matter than GAS burning devices! Not only the same amount but the SAME TYPE! This is right from the people who know what is right for you and are going to save you at no expense except your personal freedoms.

This “Board” is controlled by Mr. Jack. You know the one who was heard at a Public hearing saying” I will be glad when these Public Hearings are over so we can enact this law ant OUTLAW wood burning”. You know the same individual that stated last year during the Chevron fire “that there was no particulate matter from the fire”. Remember this was a smoke cloud hundreds of feet high and miles long. Mr. then had to retract/change his statement on the news saying that “their monitoring devices detected no pollution/particulate matter”. So where are these “monitoring devices” located?? Must not be around BIG Business.

Remember “They” only recommend to not do things in the summer on STAD days but in the winter “They” tell you what you cannot do. Be careful people as one day “They” are going to be telling you what you cannot do during the summer as well. Then who are you going to ask for help.

26 Bobfshed January 1, 2014 at 4:29 PM

Looks like banning wood fires does not work at all.
I’m surprised all the folks suffering from breathing problems didn’t call the BAAQMD and complain about them allowing all that fireworks smoke last night.

27 claycordian January 1, 2014 at 6:39 PM

Thank you, Claycordite for posting the link to the BAAQMD Board. The only two Contra Costa members of this illicit organization are Mary Piepho and John Gioia. We in Contra Costa need to defeat both of these people in the next election. We need to find people to run against them who will protect the rights of all citizens. We here in Contra Costa County can’t do anything against morons like Tom Bates of Berkeley, Ed Lee of San Francisco, and the other idiots on this board.

28 Redoubt January 1, 2014 at 6:44 PM

Wood fires will be completely banned
one day, in the not too distant future.
You can count on it.

29 CW January 1, 2014 at 9:23 PM

This is getting ridiculous. People should be able to buy offsets that allow them to burn wood in their fireplaces whenever they wish and the profits from the sale of those offsets could go to fund large-scale pollution reduction projects.

30 Anon January 1, 2014 at 11:19 PM

Why do you post these? It’s already on the news broadcasts and anyone who cares can go to the SPA web site. Do you do it to infuriate people, cause lots of hits on your website so you can claim X number of hits and comments per day to your advertisers? Since all of this available elsewhere, from sources much larger than Claycord please stop, and provide stories on local events and occurrences instead. It’s not a community service, so please explain or stop. Thank you.

31 Anon January 2, 2014 at 12:34 AM

I’d appreciate an answer. Thank you.

32 Pro Fi January 2, 2014 at 9:30 AM

I agree Local Living… keep posting Mr. Mayor, this is a local news blog and some of us appreciate it being on Claycord. This is local news and information so it provides a service to the community. It appears that the only posters recently have been the burn baby burners.

33 @Anon #32 January 2, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Not everyone gets their news from the sources you mention. Why does it bother you so much? You can just ignore the story and go on to the next one.

The majority of hits that the Mayor gets are from people who like to get their ire up over these SPA days. They keep saying the same thing over an over again. Maybe it’s a good thing that they get to see these posts and get some of their anger out instead of holding it in.

We put in a gas fireplace a few years ago and love it. It heats up half our house with no wood to buy, no smoke and no clean up,

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