The Bay Area Air Quality Management District today issued the alert, which bans burning wood, manufactured firelogs, or any other solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors.
Air quality is expected to be unhealthy in the region on Sunday due to conditions that will trap pollutants in the air close to the ground, according to the district.
Wood smoke is the largest source of wintertime air pollution in the Bay Area, and contains hazardous soot, carbon monoxide, and other harmful toxins such as dioxin, according to the district.
The pollutants can cause breathing difficulties, especially for children, seniors, and people with heart or lung conditions.
People should check the daily burn status – which can be found online at www.baaqmd.gov or www.sparetheair.org – before burning wood during the Winter Spare the Air season, which runs from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28.
People who are found to be burning wood during a Spare the Air Day could face hefty fines. First-time offenders will receive a warning, but a second violation is subject to a $400 fine, with steeper fines for further violations.
Residents and businesses that burn wood as their only source of heat are exempt from the alerts.
The first Spare the Air Day of the season was Dec. 1, according to the district.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News