Put Down the Yule Log Bay Area

By Lori Preuitt
|  Thursday, Nov 26, 2009  |  Updated 7:55 AM PDT
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Chestnuts roasting on an open fire is more of a Christmas thing, but don't even think about trying it on Thanksgiving this year.

The air police have declared Thanksgiving a Spare the Air day for the Bay Area and that means using any wood-burning devices is prohibited.

This is the first Winter Spare the Air Alert.  Specifically the Bay Area Air Quality Management District doesn't want you to burn wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel.

Playing the Grinch in this holiday drama is Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District.

"Cold, still weather will contribute to unhealthy air quality tomorrow," said Broadbent.  "We’re asking Bay Area residents to respect the health of their neighbors and fellow community members this Thanksgiving, and not to burn wood in their fireplaces and wood stoves."

We can't really blame Jack,  this is a weather thing.  The current system over the Bay Area landscape is prime to trap smoke.

For the record, Wood smoke is a major source of wintertime air pollution.  It contains all kinds of harmful pollutants such as particulate matter and carbon monoxide, as well as toxins such as dioxin.  All of the above are linked to increased risk of cancer.

According to air experts, wood smoke from the 1.4 million fireplaces and wood stoves in the Bay Area contributes about one-third of the harmful particulate pollution in the air during the winter months.

Real fireplaces are a luxury 'round these parts, so if you are among the many who use a wall switch to get your fireplace going, have at it. Those faux fireplaces are not on the banned list.

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