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Winter Spare The Air Ordered For Monday

This is the ninth straight day a ban on wood burning has been declared

A Winter Spare the Air alert is in effect for Monday
A Winter Spare the Air alert is in effect for Monday
No, you can't use that fireplace. Not yet.

Another Winter Spare the Air alert has been issued, this one for Monday.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District made the announcement on Sunday afternoon, saying the prolonged cold weather is trapping pollutants close the ground and causing unhealthy air.

It will be a record ninth day in a row that an alert has been in effect.

The Monday alert prohibits Bay Area residents from burning wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel both indoors and outdoors for 24 hours.

First-time violators of the ban are given the option of taking a wood smoke awareness class or paying a $100 fine. Second violations result in a $500 fine and the penalties rise with each violation after that.

It's the 13th Spare the Air alert ordered this winter.
Chris Nicholson December 16, 2013 at 10:08 AM
Spare the Air is now batting .153 on these. Thirteen warnings and only two days with results in the zone that the EPA considers dangerous for "sensitive" people. Our air quality is generally fantastic here. Let's "Spare the Bureaucracy."
WC-Independent December 16, 2013 at 11:34 AM
Airports, refineries, non-essential traffic, smoke spewing businesses (e.g. Burger King), cars idiling at bridge tolls.... that's all OK today. BAAQMD justifies their existence by telling people not to start a fire..... and we, those who fund this organization by paying taxes, have to listen to their BS.
JKI December 16, 2013 at 01:15 PM
This is what we get left with when you take what was initially an "advisory" agency and suddenly give them legal authority. If you think they are a bit much now, just wait till the teeth start biting on the 350.org "Climate Action Resolution" just endorsed by BAAQMD couple weeks ago. They want the Bay Area to lead the world in carbon reduction efforts, and brush off the social/economic and political concerns. If we are going to have a regulatory agency with such an agenda, they should be elected specifically for the position, state their goals and be held directly accountable to the voters. The current directors of BAAQMD fall short in all aspects of accountability.
Dewey's Mom December 17, 2013 at 03:17 AM
JkI, you are so right! How do we turn this around? How did this "advisory" agency turn into a "regulatory" agency and who gave them the power to become dictators? Doesn't a majority of the residents in the S.F. Bay Area understand that the more control (over our lives) that we hand over to these bureaucrats the more they will gladly take?! Wake up you sleeping people!!
Mark Bole, EA December 17, 2013 at 02:08 PM
Too bad The Patch is setting up separate stories for each day, the comments are getting diluted that way. Here's one I posted on December 12, 2013 at 08:09 PM. I have not yet had time to call again, but maybe if a number of citizens start contacting BAAQMD at the extensions provided and asking about forecast accuracy, we could get somewhere with more public awareness. (And, although I have a fireplace, I probably would not have been burning any dura-logs anyway, it's just the principle of the thing.) [begin quote] "Granted, the wind was calm today, but most of this week it's been pretty breezy. As someone else commented on a different day, the air looked crystal clear. I checked the BAAQMD web site, they explain that Spare the Air days are called based on a forecast. So, I want to know, how accurate are their forecasts? You know, let's measure the actual pollution at the end of the day, compared to their forecast. I'm not talking about just Spare the Air days, but every day. . "Well, even though I got hold of two different live persons, they kept on sending me to voice mail -- one of the persons I talked to was from the Community Outreach department, and she sent me to her own department's voicemail. I'll try again tomorrow, but I think we need to know if these folks are very good at their forecasts. The staff names and departments with emails and phone numbers are posted at http://www.sparetheair.org/sitecore/content/Home/Contacts.aspx [end quote]
Bob Brittain December 17, 2013 at 08:15 PM
We solved this challenge years ago by installing a gas fireplace insert which is extremely energy-efficient. I wonder whether any of the critics of BAAQMD have looked outside early today. The visibility is very poor - comparable to a bad day in Rancho Cucamonga east of LA. We could not even see Mt. Diablo from our house - the summit is a few miles away. Not as bad as Beijing yet.
mlm2013 December 18, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Check out the headline in the CoCo Times this morning (Wed Dec 18) "One-two punch fouls Bay Area" by Paul Rogers. It exposes the problem, which is the South Bay. The federal health standard for particulates is 35 micrograms per cubic meter - while the City and the South Bay are off the charts, Concord is typically below this standard most hours of the day - the chart was for Tuesday December 17.
Chris Nicholson December 18, 2013 at 01:07 PM
Yesterday (12/17) was a outlier day which did exceed federal standards, but the article is misleading by comparing hourly peak levels to federal standards, which only speak to 24-hour averages. This is sloppy, alarmist journalism. Also, apart from yesterday, the other Spare the Air days were below or *barely* over the national standard. Note that the EPA itself does not consider pollutions levels "unhealthily" unless they are 150% of the standard. Again, 12/17 hit this level--- but I think it was the only day this winter to hit that level. Also, as mlm2013 noted, an isolated problem in San Jose triggers a region-wide Spare the Air alert, which is silly. Finally, when the EPS last considered fighting the rules, they could not justify tighter rules for health reasons. Believe it or not, the only known factor that might justify tighter rules is better VISIBILITY--- and when they instigated, they decided to not tighten the rules on this basis either. Bottom line: we should remain vigilant to retain historical air quality improvements, but to suggest that there is a serious smog-related health problem in the Bay Area is without basis.
JKI December 20, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Interesting article in San Ramon Patch about an ex-BAAQMD employee revealing issues with how Spare-the-Air days are handled & managed. http://sanramon.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/bay-area-man-suspicious-of-how-sparetheair-decisions-are-made_3baf4ada

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