SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The Bay Area Air Quality Management District advised residents Friday to avoid burning wood during the novel coronavirus outbreak to protect local air quality.

Wood burning is not illegal, according to the district, and there is currently no regional order in effect banning the use of fireplaces, outdoor fire pits or wood burning stoves.

However, wood smoke can include fine particles and substances that are particularly harmful to children, seniors and people with respiratory illnesses.

The fine particulates in smoke can stress our respiratory and immune systems at a time when we all are especially apprehensive about staying healthy,” Air District Executive Officer Jack Broadbent said. “Please be conscientious of your neighbors, especially the most vulnerable – preserving good air quality will help everyone during this difficult time.”

The district is not expecting poor air quality in the Bay Area in the immediate future but wood smoke can cause harmful effects in localized areas.

“Now is the time to be highly considerate of those with asthma or respiratory illnesses,” Air District Health Officer Judith Cutino said. “Smoke impairs our lung function as well as our immunity at a time when we can least afford it.”

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