A Winter Spare the Air Alert has been issued for Saturday due to poor air quality resulting from a buildup of suspended particulate matter, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said Friday.
Burning wood or other solid fuels will be prohibited.
With 1.4 million fireplaces in the Bay Area, wood smoke is the region's single largest source of air pollution during the winter months, officials said. This is the twenty-first time the district has prohibited burning so far this season.
Executive officer Jack Broadbent said today in a prepared statement that this has been a dry, windless January and the absence of a strong winter weather system is leading to unhealthy levels of air pollution.
Light surface winds have not been enough to clear polluted air out of sheltered valleys, officials said, and the jet stream is deflecting storms north into Oregon, Washington and Canada.
During a Winter Spare the Air Alert it is illegal to use fireplaces, woodstoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or other wood burning devices. Residents that do not have permanently installed gas or electric heaters can apply for an exemption.
First time violators can expect a $100 fine. They may also have the option of taking a wood smoke awareness class online or by mail in lieu of payment. Fines for subsequent offenses start at $500 and go up for each additional offense.
For more information call (877) 4-NO-BURN, go to www.sparetheair.org or www.baaqmd.gov, or find out more via the Spare the Air apps for iPhone and Android.