Chestnuts Roasting on a Faux Fire?

By Jessica Greene
|  Wednesday, Dec 23, 2009  |  Updated 8:50 AM PDT
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Pull out your Snuggie and find the yule log channel because it might be the only way you'll be seeing a cozy fireplace this Christmas.

Air quality officials say there is a possibility that a winter Spare the Air alert will be issued for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (Among those happy about the possibility of fireless fireplaces on Christmas Eve? A jolly guy in a red suit.)

Weather forecasts for later this week predict light winds and cool, dry air and  air quality officials say those conditions are ripe for trapping smoke, causing unhealthy breathing conditions across the Bay Area.

The district has already issued two winter Spare the Air alerts -- the first one falling on Thanksgiving Day. On Spare the Air days, Bay Area residents are not allowed to burn wood or manufactured fire logs in fireplaces, wood stoves, fire pits or in any other capacity. The ban extends to both indoor and outdoor fires.

According to the BAAQMD, there are about 1.4 million fireplaces and wood stoves in the Bay Area, and smoke is the region's largest source of wintertime air pollution.

The BAAQMD's Web site shows the Spare the Air status. As of Wednesday, there was a green light for burning but that could change. Check it again before flicking the BIC to light that log.

Of course, there's always the safe alternative: the YouTube yule log.

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