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 due to cold weather and a lack of wind that will trap pollutants in the air close to the ground, according to the district.
Particulate matter from wood smoke is the main source of winter air pollution, and has been linked to illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and lung disease.
The pollutants can be especially dangerous to children, the elderly 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 two previous Spare the Air Days of the season were on Dec. 1 and Dec. 12.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News