So this is a little late, but the air distract issued a winter spare the air alert yesterday (even though it's not even winter!). This means that it is illegal to burn wood in fireplaces, woodstoves/inserts, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or other wood-burning devices.
Umm ... isn't that what fireplaces are used for?
New Rule effective November 1st, 2008- The Bay Area Air District will begin enforcing the Wood Burning Rule that prohibits burning wood on high pollution days when the Air District declares a Winter Spare the Air Alert, in order to limit the harmful health impacts of wood smoke.
In the wintertime, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) becomes the pollutant with the greatest impact on air quality. Fine particulates can bypass the body’s natural defenses, penetrating deeply into the lungs and even passing into the bloodstream. Prolonged exposure to the fine particulates in wood smoke has been linked with aggravated asthma, lung and heart disease, and increased mortality rates. Wood burning in fireplaces and woodstoves creates about one-third of the winter particulate matter air pollution in the Bay Area.
Each day around 10:00am, the Air District will forecast air pollution levels for the Bay Area. If the air quality is determined to be unhealthy, they will declare a Winter Spare the Air Alert.
During a Winter Spare the Air Alert, the use of any and all wood-burning devices, including fireplaces, pellet stoves, wood stoves, fireplace inserts and outdoor fire pits is illegal. Those who burn wood during Winter Spare the Air alerts will receive a warning for the first violation. A second violation could result in a fine of several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the severity of the infraction.
Residents should check the air-quality status before using wood-burning devices. The daily burn status and more details regarding this new rule can be found:
· On the Air District web sites: www.baaqmd.gov
· Via a toll-free telephone hotline (1-877-4-NO-BURN)
· By signing up for Air Alerts at www.sparetheair.org