Keeping warm on this truly chilly evening? Well, this better be due to your electricity or gas supplied heat only, because it’s now illegal to use your fireplace or wood-burning stove. Welcome to the first Spare The Air Day, winter edition.
Today the air quality was reported as “102” for the Coast and Central Bay, which includes Oakland and the Oakland Hills. This means it’s unhealthy for sensitive groups like active kids/adults and people with respiratory problems.
When the particulates get too high, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board declares a Spare The Air Day. No wood, fake logs or pellets may be burned during the these bad days – which can occur from November through February.
This wood-smoke rule was passed last July, and I admit to ignoring the news back then: “Regulation 6, Rule 3 makes it illegal to burn wood or fire logs in fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits, or any other wood-burning devices when the Air District issues a Winter Spare the Air Alert.”
Let this be fair warning, as you could become a scofflaw by tending the home fires. Fines start at hundreds of dollars, so I have heard. Yet enforcement can’t be a high priority for patrolling cops, so it’s not clear who will be driving around and sniffing chimneys.
Hey, I’m all for improving air quality and the Air District says that 2/3rd of the particulates come from this burning. This seems like a form of pollution we can actively prevent! Since we don’t live in Siberia, I have to believe that controlling or eliminating wood fires isn’t very tough for folks.
To stay tuned into the bad day alerts, you may check online, call 1-877-4NO-BURN, or sign up for your personal Air Alerts via email or cell. Of course, local TV/Radio stations also report these declared days too.