‘Spare the Air’ snuffs Thanksgiving fires

Bay Area residents will be prohibited from burning firewood and other solid fuels on Thanksgiving Day during the third Winter Spare the Air alert issued by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, agency officials said Wednesday.

Both indoor and outdoor wood-burning fires are prohibited, according to the air quality management agency. Management district officials said cool, stagnant weather conditions are trapping wood smoke pollution throughout the Bay Area.

Executive officer of the air district Jack Broadbent said:

“Unfortunately, weather conditions are expected to cause air pollutions levels to climb to unhealthy levels on Thanksgiving Day. …┬áTo protect our families and neighbors this Thanksgiving, it’s important that Bay Area residents refrain from wood burning.”

During the winter, wood smoke from the 1.4 million fireplaces and wood stoves in the Bay Area is the single largest source of air pollution and contributes to the risk of respiratory illness, agency officials said.

During the Spare the Air Alert, residents are banned from using fireplaces, woodstoves and inserts, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits, or any other wood-burning devices, according to the air management agency. First-time violators will be given the option of taking a wood smoke awareness class in lieu of paying a penalty.

A second violation will result in a $500 fine, and agency officials said subsequent violations would result in more expensive fines. For more information, visit www.baaqmd.gov or www.sparetheair.org or call a toll-free hotline at (877) 4-NO-BURN.

Sign up for AirAlerts at www.sparetheair.org or phone alerts at (800) 430-1515.