Air District Asks People Not To Burn Wood This Weekend

November 30, 2019 10:00 am · 59 comments

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is asking the region’s residents not to burn wood in their fireplaces or woodstoves over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend to prevent air quality impacts in inland valleys and neighborhoods.

The agency, which is responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area, said that while air quality is expected to be good to moderate throughout the region, wood burning during the holiday can significantly impact local areas and neighborhoods.

District officials said a Spare the Air Alert is not in effect and wood burning isn’t illegal, but it is being discouraged.

image: courtesy of

Yves Harlowe November 30, 2019 at 10:46 AM

Here we go again. It’s raining!! But oh no, don’t use your fireplace. It’s not even close to being a spare the air day. It’s beyond absurd.

I plan to burn a log this evening while we’re watching a movie. It adds a nice ambience to our family room, and with the rain, it won’t be an issue. Good grief.

S November 30, 2019 at 11:18 AM

they want us to refrain. but sure an enticing picture on this brisk day.

Noj November 30, 2019 at 12:06 PM

No this.

No that.

Cali Gurl November 30, 2019 at 12:51 PM

I’ve got a gas log- I highly recommend it!! No buying wood, no mess, turn off off when your done with it, and no worries whether it’s a spare the air day or not!

Silva December 2, 2019 at 11:14 AM

I’m putting that on my list for Santa.

Gittyup December 2, 2019 at 2:05 PM

How many thousand dollars did it cost to run the gas line to the fireplace, and the setup for the gas log, and is it a heat source for the whole house? It is decorative, only, right?

KenInConcord November 30, 2019 at 12:58 PM


1/3 of trash on the beaches are plastic straws!
2/3 of Bay Area air pollution is from wood burning fire places!
27/32th of all statistics are made up on the spot to validate someone’s statement.

S November 30, 2019 at 1:36 PM

yes, we must do something. Let’s all use gas powered leaf blowers to blow the garbage off the beaches and blow the smoke away. Problem sovled.

Dawg November 30, 2019 at 2:07 PM

We are doing something. California has the strictest emission laws in the world and the plastic straws you are so worried about are from certain Asian countries, with China being number one.
Ten rivers are known to be dumping plastics into the ocean, with eight of those rivers being in Asia. The Yangtze, Ganges, and the Niger River are the top three ocean polluters.
Do your own research instead of believing everything you read.

Gittyup November 30, 2019 at 2:29 PM

One third, two thirds, and twenty-seven thirty twoths? Wow, that a whole gang load of statistics! 🤣

John P November 30, 2019 at 3:22 PM

Interesting that you (sarcastically) mention 2/3 of all winter pollution is from wood burning. The Air Board started out using the figure 32 percent when the STA bans first started (less than 1/3). They raised it to 35 percent a few years later and then to 37 percent. Now they say most winter air pollution is from wood burning, but you have to question their “calculations”. They’ve been banning wood burning over the years yet the problem seems to get worse (or so they’d have us believe), and I know people have quit using open fireplaces (the worst), and also have converted to gas fireplaces. They never seem to attack any of the other sources – you know, the contributors of the other 63+ percent!

burnbabyburn November 30, 2019 at 7:50 PM

Straight white males account for 69.67% of all air pollution in 73.57% of all bay area counties. Yet gavin newsom, marc desaulnier, tom steyer and eric swalwell are all white bay area democrats. Based on these facts, should we assume that bay area democratic douche bags are responsible for the majority of bay area air pollution?

WC Resident November 30, 2019 at 9:52 PM

@John P – it’s possible the numbers are accurate. If you manage to eliminate or reduce the low hanging fruit among the polluters then the percentage contributed by other sources will go up.

It would be better if organizations such as BAAQMD were transparent about how they arrived at their numbers and provided enough data so that others can see trends.

Anonymous November 30, 2019 at 2:51 PM

Lord Broadbent , the high poo bah of the air district is advised to tend to his own business.

FPN November 30, 2019 at 2:57 PM

California is not going to allow new homes to have gas stoves. I am sure gas fireplaces are also frowned upon.

chuckie the troll November 30, 2019 at 3:29 PM

It’s cold and raining! If you can’t use your fireplace, then when would be a good time? Why not ban politicians from speaking, if you want to improve air quality?

Gittyup November 30, 2019 at 7:54 PM

Excellent idea!

Vindex November 30, 2019 at 5:07 PM

Discouraged??? This agency is a joke

ConcordNative November 30, 2019 at 5:13 PM

Sorry..request declined.

Randy November 30, 2019 at 6:52 PM

Had both pellets and wood. Messy and lots of work. Switched to gas insert and will never have anything else.

chosenone November 30, 2019 at 7:26 PM

Don’t forget to pay your higher gas bill.

John P December 1, 2019 at 12:00 AM

I continue to deal with the acquisition, stacking, and chopping of firewood – almond mostly, with some redwood fence boards for kindling. I burn in an EPA approved wood burning appliance – a Buck Bay 91 – that’s 25 years old. I keep it properly maintained and replace the catalytic combustor when it starts to fail. I discharge 5-10 grams of the PM 2.5 the Air Board loves to cite in an hour; that’s less than a diesel 18-wheeler with poor maintenance and older pollution controls discharges in 50 miles. I don’t to enrich the felons at PG&E by going gas even though the wood effort is starting to become difficult..

The Fearless Spectator December 1, 2019 at 3:05 PM

A man who cuts his own firewood gets warm twice.

Hayden Barsotti November 30, 2019 at 6:53 PM

How is Berkeley doing with no natural gas. I bet the electric bill for most is very high since it’s way more expensive to heat your house with this method. Even the neighborhood communes have a high price to pay.
Blankets are cheap!!

Gittyup November 30, 2019 at 8:01 PM

Bezerkeleyans will be walking around in their long underwear all winter in those great big houses in the Claremont district without their gas furnaces. Their electric bills are going to shock the daylights out of them. I can’t believe these politically tidy liberals did not anticipate how the poor are going to survive with insufficient heat when its cold outside.

Natalie November 30, 2019 at 9:25 PM

Berkeley’s ban hasn’t even gone into effect yet, and when it does it only applies to new construction.

WC Resident November 30, 2019 at 9:44 PM

Berkeley has a milder climate than the Claycord area. It does not get as hot in the summer nor as cold in the winter. At the moment it’s 52° in Berkeley, 47° in WC, and 46° in Concord.

Gittyup November 30, 2019 at 11:36 PM

More than just an acquaintance of Berzerkley, I lived and worked there for many years. One, a building of concrete construction, had walls that efficiently cooled the whole place to a comfortable 60 degrees summer … and winter. It has nothing to do with the exterior climate and everything to do with how the building retains heat.

annie2u November 30, 2019 at 10:05 PM

Yet there is pollution pouring out of the refinery now. Why is that acceptable.

S November 30, 2019 at 10:49 PM

follow the money

The Wizard December 1, 2019 at 8:20 AM

Then shut them down ! Don’t complain about the price of gas.

Cowellian December 1, 2019 at 8:46 AM

It takes days to properly shut down a refinery. Otherwise, it emits all kind of foul fumes and possibly smoke.

Dean November 30, 2019 at 10:29 PM

Why so late? Weekend is like basically over but you post a request about thanksgiving weekend when it’s near over..

That’s like telling someone to enjoy the weekend on a Monday..

Jamess November 30, 2019 at 11:46 PM

Hey Dean
If you read Claycord regularly you would have seen this article first posted on the 28th. This is a “reminder”. Looks like Claycord just posted it again.

Gittyup November 30, 2019 at 11:40 PM

Broadbent must not go camping.

ann2u December 1, 2019 at 8:45 AM
Bobfished December 1, 2019 at 10:10 AM

BAAQMD data shows that 85-90% of wintertime PM 2.5 comes from sources other than people heating their homes with wood.
The only thing they can can harp about in the winter is wood burning, it gets them on tv and the newspapers.

Jaydee December 1, 2019 at 11:02 AM

What about all the refineries and commercial pollution?

Cowellian December 1, 2019 at 11:51 AM

They don’t run on wood anymore.

Jojo Potato December 1, 2019 at 1:49 PM

Today when it’s pouring down I can still smell very distinctly my neighbor’s fire place. I don’t think I should have to accept his pollution into my lungs. I’m turning him in, I hope it gets fined or whatever.

S December 1, 2019 at 2:03 PM

for wut, u dolt? it was a no burn “request” , not a ban… my guess u use the heck out of a safe space…

Gittyup December 1, 2019 at 2:37 PM

@Jojo Potato You can turn them in all you want today, they won’t be cited. It is not a Mandated No Burn Day. You might want to read the regulations to determine what is allowed and what isn’t. BAAQMD is merely requesting one does not burn during the Thanksgiving Holiday, it is not a no burn advisory. Read BAAQMD Regulation 6, Rule 3 for what is and is not allowed. In fact, I called BAAQMD about a local business that was polluting, and they told me to call the business and discuss it with the business, instead.

The Wizard December 1, 2019 at 3:10 PM

Glad you are not my neighbor.

Rollo Tomasi December 1, 2019 at 11:49 PM

Way to go Deputy Fife! You sure showed them!

james December 2, 2019 at 2:49 AM

Jojo,you’re a cigarette smoker,aren’t you?

Fred P. December 2, 2019 at 6:53 AM

Jojo – Go back to your safe space, sonny.

Gittyup December 2, 2019 at 7:41 AM

@Jojo Potato If you can smell smoke from a neighbors wood fire with all your doors and windows closed, you likely have some sort of negative air pressure event occurring in your house. Air is being pulled into your house from outside. You might try opening a window just a crack to interrupt this negative air flow.

Silva December 2, 2019 at 10:26 AM

I spent 37 years living in West Oakland without a heating source besides a beautiful enormous fireplace. I could heat the whole upstairs with it. I went outside a LOT to bring in more firewood among other things, and on rainy days and low atmospheric pressure days in general, I usually smelled smoke. My whole neighborhood often smelled my smoke on those days, and a few of them told me about it. Some lived on other blocks. High pressure days, not so much. I gave myself asthma. Now I can smell other people’s wood fire smoke (among other airborne particulates and chemicals) and it makes it uncomfortable for me to breathe. Kharma.

Gittyup December 2, 2019 at 1:55 PM

Well, I don’t have a choice, so I’m not going to feel bad about it. You all certainly didn’t. “Energy is neither created nor destroyed, it merely changes form.” Your auto exhaust gives me asthma, my wood smoke gives you asthma. No karma involved. When BAAQMD starts addressing the truly serious sources of pollution in the Bay Area, not the easiest to pick on, I’ll reconsider.

HappyPappy December 1, 2019 at 6:02 PM

Isn’t the real problem that there are far too many of us?

Jojo Potato December 2, 2019 at 9:34 AM

Gee Pappy, you seem pretty rational today. Did you have a good holiday?

Jackie December 2, 2019 at 4:23 AM

People tend to think that they burning wood is harmless. But it isn’t. I’m allergic to wood smoke. It gives me asthma and arthritis.

I have two neighbors who’s smoke ends up in my backyard. Where it creeps into the bedroom, while I am asleep, and pools around my doors. I am thinking of buying a shrieking turbine to blow their smoke back into their yards.

Jackie December 2, 2019 at 4:29 AM

Those black smoking diesels are the trucks that give children life threatening asthma. There are higher rates of asthma along the freeways and highways. Just so you know.

Gittyup December 2, 2019 at 7:54 AM

Asthma can be brought on by gasoline engines, as well, and mine got worse when people delivering their kids to school started using my street as a shortcut. It actually leaves a black, carbon-like dust on my driveway. It also didn’t help when everybody started using Pine Hollow as a shortcut to Ygnacio Valley and traffic increased substantially. Neither are actually “shortcuts” in the true sense of the word. People using them have just convinced themselves they are shortcuts because they aren’t sitting in traffic … or as much traffic. So, I’ll put up with the wood smoke because there are so many other sources of pollution that BAAQMD don’t address.

Jojo Potato December 2, 2019 at 7:35 AM

Please explain why harming the planet gives you pleasure. I’ve never understood that attitude.

Fred P. December 2, 2019 at 8:52 AM

If you’re that concerned about “harming the planet”, you might want to go after the heavy hitters – China, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Mongolioa, Kuwait, Nepal, UAE, Qatar, Iran, Egypt, Nepal, etc….

Dr. Jellyfinger December 2, 2019 at 8:52 AM

I think all homes suck in air from the outside…. unless your home is producing it’s own oxygen.

Gittyup December 2, 2019 at 2:07 PM

Right, they do. The question is, how much?

Anon December 2, 2019 at 12:06 PM

Please see youtube video: ‘Insight Ship Pollution’
These ships are burning Bunker fuel which is the waste products of oil refineries and it’s Nasty stuff. One ship pollutes more than one million vehicles per day.

Yes, our air is affected by this… either blows in from the Bay or the River.

Also, when is the last time an audit was done at a rail yard? Locomotives idling all night long.

And who can forget the 10,000+ flights per day.

But you and I are easier targets…..just like the irs said.

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