Winter Spare the Air Alert Issued for Saturday Jan. 18

January 17, 2014 15:00 pm · 40 comments


A Winter Spare the Air alert has been issued for Saturday, banning wood burning in the Bay Area for the 28th time this season.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued the alert because of a high-pressure weather system in the region that is expected to allow air pollution to build up to unhealthy levels on Saturday.

“The weather is unfortunately returning to this winter’s typical stagnant pattern, trapping fine particulate pollution in an unhealthy haze close to the ground,” BAAQMD executive director Jack Broadbent said in a statement.

On days when the air district issues Winter Spare the Air alerts, wood burning is banned both indoors and outdoors in the Bay Area, with exemptions for homes that rely on wood burning as their lone source of heat.

Wood smoke is the major source of air pollution in the Bay Area during the winter and is particularly harmful to children, the elderly and those with respiratory issues, according to the air district.

The most recent alert issued by the district before Saturday’s was for Jan. 4. The 28 alerts issued are the most since 2006-07, when the district issued 30 alerts during the season that runs from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28.

Those who violate the wood-burning ban must take a wood smoke awareness class or pay a $100 fine, with higher fines for subsequent violations, according to the air district.

The daily burn status can be found online at or by calling (877) 4-NO-BURN.

© 2014 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

Junk Science January 17, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Ok, so it’s been warm for a few weeks and nobody has been buring wood and the air quality is now bad!!!! Hey BAAQMD, better start chasing down real sources of poor air quality. Oh, I know, it will be harder than creating stupid radio ads about wood fires killing people with breathing problems. GIVE ME A BREAK. Let’s get a proposition on the ballot to disband BAAQMD. We could do something much better with our money.

Shelley January 17, 2014 at 3:24 PM

It’s supposed to be 72 degrees tomorrow. Here come the “I can’t have a fire” whiners.

Z-Man January 17, 2014 at 3:41 PM

My Rib Eye steaks (Bone In) are thawing. In no way am I not going to grill them on coals. USDA Prime…… YUM!

anon January 17, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Looking out from a hill today, the air quality looks absolutely atrocious. Reminds me of pictures of China almost.

anon January 17, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Here we go again on a special weekend. NFL Playoffs. How low will they go to make our life miserable.

Ted K., Supermax January 17, 2014 at 3:56 PM

Burn what?


Anon2you January 17, 2014 at 3:57 PM

No need for fire this weekend anyway, so much ado about nothing…

Anon January 17, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Take a look at BAAQMD rules and regulation. BAAQMD is a job killer. No wonder businesses are leaving the state.

@Anon2you January 17, 2014 at 4:27 PM

By the same token, if hardly anybody would have had a fire anyway, they didn’t really need to call a spare the air day, did they?

Cowellian January 17, 2014 at 4:43 PM

Maybe they should create a no-burn zone around LA. That will take care of things.

Bobfshed January 17, 2014 at 4:46 PM

The BAAQMD calling Spare The Air is a joke and everyone knows it! Air pollution is caused by burning to much fossile fuel. Will they ask people o burn less to help air quality, no. That’s why the air is bad.

DanMtz January 17, 2014 at 5:23 PM

The air is nasty these days. We could use a humdinger of a cold front and a good two weeks of storms.

Anonymous January 17, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Lord Broadbent strikes again. From time to time the peasantry needs to be reminded who is in charge.

Burnin January 17, 2014 at 6:45 PM

BAAQMD, no one takes you serious anymore. It is your fault that the air quality is poor. All you know how to do is yell no wood burning and think that people will believe that it will stop the pollution. Everyone has caught on now and realizes that your polices have actually made the air worse.

B.S. January 17, 2014 at 7:36 PM

Hardly anyone burns wood anymore.How in the hell is this the REAL PROBLEM with our air quality?

Rebel January 17, 2014 at 7:42 PM

Here we go again…..thanks BAAQM

Healthy one January 17, 2014 at 9:17 PM

Thank you BAACM, for with out you I would probably be dead by now. For I have this now known lung disease that causes me to have almost zero oxygen absorption during high pollution levels, I learned about traveling out of the country my first time and probably the last by going to a country with high pollution levels and nearly dying there in a foreign country in there hospital that I eventually got a room that had a window after a week and a half couldn’t see nothing but the sky but I was thankful at the time,after sixteen day stay my plane was departing to take me home. They took me by ambulance on oxygen of coarse, after a hour into my flight I was able to remove the oxygen mask and breath again on my own felt good to come home knowing that I have no problem breathing here. Be thankful I am and stay away from country’s that have pollution worst vacation I’ll tell ya maybe Canada or Alaska next time

Anonymous January 17, 2014 at 9:51 PM

Healthy one also lost the ability to write properly.

anon January 18, 2014 at 5:08 AM

Survival of the fittest

Healthy one January 18, 2014 at 8:35 AM

@ anonymous: healthy, joyful, thankful !

Who January 18, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Is Lord Broadbent?

Burnin January 18, 2014 at 10:05 AM

@healthy one
Sorry about your breathing problems. I must ask, why do you choose to live in the Bay Area. The pollution here is very high due to so many people, refineries, cars, industry… I know everyone’s situation is different but if there was anyway to move to a less polluted place I would if I were you. The bayarea is only going to get worse as the population continues to grow.

Barbeque Lover January 18, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Is barbecuing allowed? If so, can I use wood chips? If so, what is the upper limit on wood chips and still within the regulations?

KAD January 18, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Burnin, Do you really expect people that develop respiratory issues to move? As you might understand, that is not always an easy thing to do when your doctors, support system and families are in the area. SF would be the best place to be but that is an expensive city. Glad you have the resources to move wherever you want to live but not everyone can.

anonanonagain January 18, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Those ‘I’m going to burn no matter what” zealots are not aware that the air quality is bad because they don’t really leave the area. It’s easy to assume by looking upwards and seeing a blue sky that it must be a racket by the BAAQMD.
Driving down the 5 for a usual business trip, the central valley and further south was a see of grey coated, smokey blur. I can see how the winds carry all the evening fires and traffic congestion smog towards this valley. It’s horrific!!!
Now with the drought and the fires that are being battled (in January no less) we will see more of this……

Lord Broadbent January 18, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Is the head honcho of the Air District. He gets paid more then the Vice President if the United States, any Governor or me.

Burnin January 18, 2014 at 3:29 PM

I don’t expect anybody to do anything, however if I lived somewhere that was killing me I woud move!

Bobfshed January 18, 2014 at 3:38 PM

There are people in Richmond that live next to an oil refinery. Should the refinery shut down so that they are not exposed to toxic chemicals? They can not afford to move.

Burnin January 18, 2014 at 3:40 PM

I don’t expect anybody to do anything! If I lived somewhere that was killing me I would move.

Justin January 18, 2014 at 5:09 PM

@ Burnin—22

If you have breathing problems, it doesn’t matter where you live. You’ll still have breathing problems.

My grandmother moved to a less polluted area because of her breathing issues. She still has the same problems, and she misses her family and friends.

Elwood January 18, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Another problem which can be solved with a high speed choo choo to nowhere and two giant tunnels to suck up all the smog and send it to LA.

Mrs. T January 18, 2014 at 9:09 PM

We burned wood in our pit and had the best New York strip steaks ever yummy. Love our weekends steaks on the pit cold beer in hand doesn’t get any better than that!!!

@ January 18, 2014 at 10:44 PM

My neighbors had a huge wood fire going in their fireplace today. Smoke was pouring out of their chimney. So, you know what I did? Nothing. Nothing at all.

@Mrs. T January 18, 2014 at 11:03 PM

Maybe you were the one I reported to the BAAQMD. I don’t like people who break the law.

anon January 19, 2014 at 2:44 AM

damn right @Mrs. T

I can’t believe the self-centeredness of commentators on this site. I’d just like to point out that it is YOU who are the present minority. It is YOU who will be on the wrong side of history. Your old fogey curmudgeoness will be well represented in the history books of generations future as the last thing holding back the overall progress of human civilization.

Thank you for believing that your ‘freedom’ to have a flickering light in the corner of your over-sized, resource drain of a home as you watch football on your monstrous TV trumps that of the general air quality of all your neighbors and compatriots. Thank you for being so wrong.

Sabrina January 19, 2014 at 7:26 AM

It’s the poor folks who burn on Spare The Air days. They can’t afford heating, and they’re too UNEDUCATED TO GET IT!

. January 19, 2014 at 7:27 AM

..and just how many people do you actually think are burning wood and causing problems? Think about it!

. January 19, 2014 at 9:50 AM


Kind of a big generalization you’re making….

Mrs. T January 19, 2014 at 5:23 PM

#34 Nope was not me crybaby. Not breaking the law just living my life and not letting anyone stop me 🙂

Rick January 19, 2014 at 6:15 PM

@ . #38

I’m with Sabrina. The truth hurts.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: