Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Seasons of Change

Usually with dipping temperatures comes the increased smell of burning firewood permeating through the cold night air. However, there will be a decrease in the likelihood of that happening this winter season. A new wood-burning law has come into effect, requiring residents of the nine Bay Area counties to think of alternative ways to keep warm, and which doesn't involve lighting up a fireplace, wood stove, or outdoor fire pit.

Air experts estimate that wood burning in fireplaces and wood stoves creates about one-third of the winter particulate air pollution in the Bay Area. Due to that, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) has banned wood-burning on Spare the Air days. The ban will be in effect until Feb. 28th and is expected to affect about 20 days. First time violators will receive written warnings. A second violation could result in a fine ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

If you'd like to be notified via e-mail or text message regarding which days those will be, you can sign up to receive alerts by visiting You can also get that same information by calling the Bay Area Air District's "Check Before You Burn" line at 1-877-4NO-BURN (1-877-466-2816). Any complaints should be directed to the BAAQMD, toll free at 1-800-334-ODOR (6367), and NOT the Fire or Police departments. Names and addresses will be kept completely confidential.

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