SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/BCN) – There’s no Spare the Air alert in effect for Christmas but the Bay Area Air Quality Management District still strongly discourages residents from burning wood in fireplaces over the Christmas holiday weekend.

Wood burning can significantly affect the air quality in homes and around neighborhoods, the air district said. The fine particles and carcinogens found in wood smoke pollution can especially hurt children, older adults and those with respiratory problems.

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“While we are excited to gather with our loved ones this year, foregoing a fire in the fireplace will protect air quality for our families, friends and neighbors,” Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District, said in a statement. “Increased wood burning around the holidays can lead to high levels of air pollution that can cause serious health effects to Bay Area residents. With your help, we can keep our air clean and enjoy a healthier holiday season.”

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The air district also reminds residents that burning wrapping paper, trash and scrap wood is illegal. Wrapping paper’s ink, plastic film and metallic finishes release toxic fumes into homes once burned.

Residents can learn more about air quality and Spare the Air alerts by visiting the sparetheair.org or district’s website.

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