Remember that today is Spare the Air Day for Bay Area residents, an alert day set by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
Spare the Air Day is a much welcome opportunity to clean up the air, even if for a 24-hour-period. How did officials envision this day? Well, Spare the Air day means no burning wood. In addition to wood as fire fuel, any other solid fuels are banned. For instance, pellets, manufactured logs and others are also prohibited. For 24 hours, Bay Area residents may not light up any fire indoors or outdoors.
Officials with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District don’t mean to spoil the fun. To the contrary, barring burning wood or other solid fuels is meant as a protective measure. Air pollution is taking its toll on our health. From all air pollution categories, particulate matter resulting from burning wood presents the greatest health hazard for Bay Area residents in winter months.
If you’re thinking one fire can’t hurt, let’s put things in perspective. Just one stove burning wood for one family will release sufficient particulate matter into the air to pollute an entire medium-size neighbourhood.
Thus, it’s recommended to remember that today is Spare the Air Day for Bay Area residents. Air pollution takes its toll on our health each year. Mortality rates due to air pollution have spiked in recent years at an alarming pace. As such, even one day without burning wood or other solid fuels makes a great difference.
For those of us who do not respect Spare the Air Day requirements, the Bay Area Quality Management District has a list of fines and sanctions which shall be duly applied. For once, first-time perpetrators will either received a 100-dollar fine or be asked to participate in air pollution awareness classes where wood burning and particulate matter will be intensely discussed.
Second time perpetrators will receive a 500-dollar fine. The more violations, the higher the fine. It is expected that today the winds in the Santa Clara Valley could particularly add to transporting particulate matter from wood burning, adding to air pollution.
Thus, during the Spare the Air Day, Bay Area residents are required to not burn wood or other solid fuels. There are exemptions to the rule. Homes lacking permanent heating are exempt if the stove or fireplace is the only heating source. Since November 1st 2016 even the exemptions are toughening. If the wood-burning device isn’t certified by EPA and registered, similar fines and sanctions will apply.
During the Spare the Air season which lasts from November until February, Bay Area residents have a few options to check the burn status of the day. Spare the Air Alerts info can be received at the 877 4-NO-BURN number, the 800 430-1515 number and a host of websites dedicated to the initiative.
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