Another Spare The Air Alert Issued For Wednesday

Bay Area air quality officials tell residents not to burn wood for a second straight day

Keep that wood in the woodshed.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued another Spare The Air alert for Wednesday.

The alert bans burning wood, manufactured fire logs or anyother solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors for 24 hours.

“Weather conditions are expected to trap wood smoke near the ground, creating unhealthy air quality in the Bay Area,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air quality district. “Wood smoke, like cigarette smoke, isunhealthy for everyone so it is important that Bay Area residents not burn wood during a Winter Spare the Air Alert.”

It's the second straight day such an prohibition is in effect. A Spare The Air alert was also in place on Tuesday.

We may see more alerts, too. The National Weather Service forecast shows mostly sunny skies for the next week with no rain in the forecast.

Starting this winter, first-time violators will be given the option to take a wood smoke awareness class, online or by mail, to learn about the hazards of wood smoke pollution in lieu of paying a penalty. Second violations will result in a $500 ticket and subsequent ticket amounts will be higher.

Patrick J. McNamara January 03, 2013 at 12:43 AM
This is such BS.
Chris J Kapsalis January 03, 2013 at 01:12 AM
They call these on what they predict the conditions will be like the next day, I think by 2 pm the day before. If they get it wrong, they should be able to cancel a spare the air day. Forecasts are wrong sometimes. Clear skies are our coldest nights here.
Bill Wainwright January 03, 2013 at 02:29 AM
If it were that important, they should also shutdown industrial polluters on "spare the air days," not to mention stop all traffic.
MIKE ALFORD January 03, 2013 at 03:02 AM
LIKE Ive Said So Many Times Before ---- SHELL ----- Puts Out OVER -- (4.6 Million Metric Tons EVERY YEAR ! And They dont EVER SHUT DOWN ! IT IS NOTHING BUT PURE B.S
Dave Thomas January 03, 2013 at 03:17 AM
iF WE ADD SOME MORE STOP SIGNS WE CAN HAVE SPARE THE ALERT EVERYDAY. yes I am yelling just like these 5 people. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFG-aQyOQG0
Chris Nicholson January 03, 2013 at 03:21 AM
It is worse then any of you are suggesting. First, in the Bay Area, they use the lower hurdle of 100 Air Quality Index ("Unhealthy for *SENSITIVE* groups") versus the standard>150 AQI ("unhealthy") as a threshold. Second, if there is a likelihood of exceeding 100 AQI *ANYWHERE* in the greater Bay Area, they call a Spare the Air Day and ban wood burning EVERYWHERE, which is dumb. I understand that smoke blows in the winds but: (i) on windy days, the AQI is low because the wind mixes the air and (ii) the Bay Area is big and the bad spots are NOT generally near Lamorinda. No logic other than misguided lefty self-flagellation to ban wood burning everywhere during the holidays. The whole thing is propaganda/obfuscation/scam and a waste of money.
John Heylin January 03, 2013 at 03:35 AM
Scam for who? Propaganda for who?
Chris Nicholson January 03, 2013 at 03:39 AM
Scam against everyone inasmuch as it purports to convey valuable information and seek to mitigate a serious health proble. Both are false. Ergo, Scam. Propaganda for the left-leaning eco-nazi branch of our government. I cannot get inside their heads, but one can reasonably assume that they either find inherent satisfaction in demonizing normal behavior as a means of highlighting their agenda or they are delusional of misinformed of the true facts. Do you have a fact-based opinion on the strength of the scientific and public health underpinnings of the Spare the Air program that suggest to you that is a good use of our tax dollars?
John Heylin January 03, 2013 at 04:15 AM
Honestly I haven't thought about this topic at all and was just curious about who might have an agenda over the Spare the Air program. But I can tell from your level of hostility that you are not the person I should be talking to if I want an unbiased explanation.
Bob Brittain January 03, 2013 at 04:30 AM
@ Chris Nicholson, I have a fact-based opinion. I am retired as a PhD chemist now and I don't want to get into a long-term relationship with you on this issue. However, my favorite project as a scientist for SRI International dealt with the fate of toxic elements in the combustion of coal. I learned that sub-micron particulates, as found in the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels (and wood), were repositories for volatile components includings arsenic compounds and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). The PAHs include the extremely toxic benzo(a)pyrene, the main carcinogen in cigarette smoke. The importance of sub-micron particulates is that they penetrate the blood when breathed into the lungs. Once into the body, the carcinogens do their work to create cancer in a proportion of the populace. What is disturbing, Chris, is that you have a very high assurance that you understand a scam when you observe it. If I am not incorrect, you have a high Confidence/Competence ratio.
Chris J Kapsalis January 03, 2013 at 04:32 AM
My problem is I believe the air in the late 70's was way worse than anything we have today. I rememeber very hot days and thick smog in the bay area and horrible headaches, coughing. But I also believe they over did it all. Cry wolf. I relate it to shots. At first there was ligitamate reasons for a couple vacines, after a few decades they had a shot for everything, and even one in a million things. Enough. This is too much. And like Patric said. There is gross polluting, reasonable limits and emmision controls, then there is just plain crazy. Also I don;t think a refinery can just shut down like that. It takes time to warm up cool down, pipes of gases and coolants, oil etc. They cannot just turn off the process so quick for one day then start up again.
Chris J Kapsalis January 03, 2013 at 04:34 AM
Also, isn't this the same guy who called a spare the air warning day Christmas eve because he wanted to give Christams a better chance of not being a spare the air day so people could have Christmas day with a fire, or some wierd thing like that?
John Heylin January 03, 2013 at 06:01 AM
That is exactly what I was wanting to hear. Thank you Bob.
John Heylin January 03, 2013 at 06:03 AM
Interesting to see the kind of crowd this article brought out of the woodwork. Honestly surprised no one has mentioned "chem trails" yet.
MIKE ALFORD January 03, 2013 at 06:46 AM
you know if the people of martinez are going to listen to as( PatrickHas Already Stated The B.S.) That the air Quality Control Board Puts Out ! When The Refinerys Are dumping More C.O 2 EVERY DAY ---- Than All of us Would burn Three hours a day for a year !Well Than What Can Anyone Say Other Than YOU Should Stay In The Dark About WHATS Really Going on in the world around you and You Should Always Keep Voteing these same dead-beats back into Office --- Oh What Am I Thinking ----- YOU DID !
MIKE ALFORD January 03, 2013 at 06:46 AM
you know if the people of martinez are going to listen to as( PatrickHas Already Stated The B.S.) That the air Quality Control Board Puts Out ! When The Refinerys Are dumping More C.O 2 EVERY DAY ---- Than All of us Would burn Three hours a day for a year !Well Than What Can Anyone Say Other Than YOU Should Stay In The Dark About WHATS Really Going on in the world around you and You Should Always Keep Voteing these same dead-beats back into Office --- Oh What Am I Thinking ----- YOU DID !
Chris Nicholson January 03, 2013 at 05:01 PM
@Bob: A factoid is not an argument. Is your implication that because something is directionally bad that it should be banned? You carefully describe the nature of a bug on a tree, but seem to ignore the forest. That PMs from a variety of sources are thought to cause a number of health problems in not dispositive when it comes to policy questions such as the "Spare the Air" program. Harmfulness of PMs is a "vector," involving a direction and a magnitude. You ignore the latter. I rely (perhaps naively) of the federal EPA definitions of "unhealthly" when it comes to PMs. They simplify this via an Air Quality Index (AQI). >= 150 is "unhealthy." In the Bay Area, if they think that AQI might exceed 100 (NB: *not* 150) someplace 45 miles away, they make it ILLEGAL for me to burn wood in my fireplace here. These are facts. The policy is, IMHO, an irrational scam that is NOT primarily motivated by concern for my health. I think my competence/confidence ratio is fine, thanks.
El Cucuy January 03, 2013 at 05:56 PM
On the bright side, fewer fires on Christmas Eve means Santa doesn't have to worry about burning himself in your fireplace. You libertarian ingrates and your kids owe your government a debt of gratitude -- they're the only ones keeping you from killing Santa. BAAQMD is your ally in the fight against the War on Christmas!
Bob Brittain January 04, 2013 at 03:49 AM
@Chris. "A factoid is not an argument" ? Toxic compounds do reside on sub-micron particulates that do cause death. Why does not that factoid not need a response? It happened in London big-time on foggy nights many years ago. Please consider using your fireplace on nights when the emissions are swept away, for the most part. When there is a temperature inversion the particulates are held down next to us for the consumption of us all.
KFrances January 04, 2013 at 04:29 AM
@BB ... Just wondering then why EVERY year the 'temperature inversion' conveniently falls on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day - there is a blatent disregard & disrespect for human beings as Nazi type policies of ratting on your neighbor are encouraged... Do people realize the slippery slope here - ? do they care if their neighbor is cold ? Do the 'greater good' Policy Police really care about people ? or their Power ?
Chris Nicholson January 04, 2013 at 04:51 AM
@Bob: but how exactly do you decide which days/areas to ban wood burning (or other PM sources like Diesel engines)? You must agree that the Spare the Air policy is arbitrary, suspect and not grounded in good science or public health policy, no?


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