The 2013-2014 Winter Spare the Air Season, which ended Feb. 28, tied a record set in 2006-2007 for the most Spare the Air alerts issued, Bay Area Air Quality Management District officials said this week.
The season's long stretch of warm weather blocked winds and storms that would have helped dispel air pollution, triggering multiple Spare the Air alerts, officials said.
The use of wood-burning stoves and fireplaces is prohibited on Spare the Air days.
"This dry winter brought with it an unprecedented stretch of bad air quality and no-burn days," said Jack Broadbent, the air district's executive officer.
[Related article: Governor Declares Drought Emergency In California] The air district received a total of 5,091 wood smoke complaints from residents and issued 267 tickets to residents observed to be in violation of the ban on wood burning, officials said.
For the first time this year, those found to be in violation were given the option of completing an online or written wood smoke awareness class rather than paying a $100 ticket. A second violation carries a fine of $500.
So far 136 Bay Area residents have chosen to take the test, but that number is expected to rise, officials said.