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Record-Breaking 5th Consecutive Winter Spare the Air Day

Cold weather traps wood smoke close to the ground, raising air pollution to unhealthy levels.

There will be cozying up in front of the fireplace again. (Photo: Patch Archive)
There will be cozying up in front of the fireplace again. (Photo: Patch Archive)
For the fifth day in a row, Bay Area residents on Thursday will have to refrain from lighting up the fireplace or other wood burning sources during yet another Winter Spare the Air alert.   

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District called its first ever fifth consecutive Winter Spare the Air Alert for the region due to an extremely cold, stagnant weather pattern, air district officials said.   

The weather conditions trap wood smoke close to the ground, raising air pollution to unhealthy levels, according to the district.   

Air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said wood smoke is "as hazardous as cigarette smoke and is the number one air-pollution-related health concern in the region."   

Additionally, a fire that burned at a Concord warehouse for about 10 hours Wednesday and sent a plume of smoke and burnt plastic fumes across the East Bay has further compromised the region's air quality, air district spokesman Tom Flannigan said.   

"The good news is that people have been limiting their burning, but we still have the same weather conditions," the spokesman said.   

Flannigan said a new weather system forecast to move through the Bay Area could mean no Winter Spare the Air alerts this weekend.   

During Winter Spare the Air days, all wood burning is banned except in cases where wood burning is a household's only heat source, according to the district.   

First-time violators have the option of taking a wood smoke awareness class or paying a $100 fine.   The air district's daily burn status can be found at www.baaqmd.gov or by calling (877) 4-NO-BURN. 


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