SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — One Christmas tradition has been extinguished by Bay Area air quality control officials.
Bay Area Air Quality Management District officials have issued Winter Spare the Air alerts for Christmas and Tuesday.
The alerts ban burning wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors for 48 hours.
They are the 12th and 13th alerts of the Winter Spare the Air season, which runs from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28.
“We appreciate Bay Area residents’ help by not burning in their fireplaces, and it’s because of the public’s help that we have been able to avoid air quality exceedances, but just barely,” Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the district, said in a statement. “We are hoping everyone enjoys the holidays this next week and remains vigilant in helping to protect air quality for their families, friends and neighbors.”
Like cigarette smoke, wood smoke contains fine particles and carcinogenic substances that make the air harmful to breathe inside and outside of the home, district officials said.
Wood smoke is the major source of air pollution in the San Francisco Bay Area in the wintertime and is especially harmful to children, the elderly and people with respiratory conditions, district officials said.
First-time violators will be given the option of taking a wood smoke awareness class, online or by mail, to learn about the hazards of wood smoke pollution in lieu of paying a $100 ticket.
Second violations will result in a $500 ticket, and subsequent ticket amounts will be higher.