Spare the Air Alert Issued in North Bay

Second alert for this winter.

It seems the because they have sent Healdsburg Patch a notice issuing the season’s second Winter Spare the Air Alert for Wednesday, Jan. 2.

The alert, which technically only extends as far north as Arata Lane in Windsor, bans burning wood, manufactured fire logs or anyother solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors for 24 hours. In Healdsburg, we have the North Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District, which hasn't issued any alerts.

However, just to make sure our air quality continues to be superb in Healdsburg, residents might want to voluntarily abide by our southern neighbors' rules -- even though us Healdsburgians are not likely to be fined for violations.

“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 Bay Area Air Quality Management 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 is illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use their fireplaces, woodstoves and inserts, pelletstoves, outdoor fire pits, or any other wood-burning devices during a Winter Spare the Air Alert. Homes without permanently installed heating, where woodstoves or fireplaces are the only source of heat, areexempt.

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.

The public must check before they burn during the Winter Spare the Air season, which runs from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28. The daily burn status can be found:

On the Air District Web sites: www.baaqmd.gov or www.sparetheair.org Via the toll-free hotline 1-877-4-NO-BURN (complaints can also be filed via the hotline)By signing up for AirAlerts at www.sparetheair.org or phone alerts at 1-800-430-1515 Via the Spare the Air iPhone and Android Apps

In the winter, wood smoke from the 1.4 million fireplaces and wood stoves in the Bay Area is the singlelargest source of air pollution, contributing about one-third of the harmful fine particulate pollution in the air. Exposure to wood smoke—like cigarette smoke—has been linked to serious respiratory illnesses and evenincreased risk of heart attacks. Breathing fine particles accounts for more than 90 percent of premature deaths related to air pollution.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (www.baaqmd.gov) is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area.

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