SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) -– The Winter Spare the Air season officially ended on March 1, and air quality officials said it was a record in terms of the number of alerts called, and the number of citations issued.
Kristine Roselius with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said the 30 alerts issued tied the record set in the 2006-07 winter season.
“Since the wood burning rule was passed, this is the most Winter Spare the Air alerts we have ever called,” she said.
There were also thousands of complaints from the public.
“We’ve got air quality inspectors out there looking,” Roselius said. “We also had over 5,000 complaints this year from the public. So we map those complaints and we concentrated our patrol efforts in those areas where we had a high number of them.”
In all, 267 people were cited in the Bay Area, with the largest number of violations coming in Sonoma and San Mateo counties.
“If it’s a first offense, people are either given the option of taking a wood smoke awareness course, which most did, or they can pay a $100 fine,” said Roselius.
There were a handful of repeat offenders, who were subject to a $500 ticket.
Air quality officials said a high pressure ridge clung off the coast of California throughout most of the winter season, blocking Pacific storms that would have helped dispense air pollution.