2014 Begins with Another Spare the Air Day

The ban on wood burning has been ordered for nine of the past 10 days

By David Mills

Different year. Same warning.

Winter Spare the Air alert has been issued for Wednesday, the first day of 2014.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District made the announcement at midday Tuesday, saying stagnant air in the region is trapping pollutants close the ground and causing unhealthy air.

It's the 24th alert so far this winter season. Only 10 alerts were issued during the entire winter season last year.

It's the second straight day an alert has been issued. A wood burning ban has been declared in nine of the past 10 days.

“The Bay Area Air District has called another Winter Spare the Air Alert," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air district. “Wood fires can cause serious health impacts in our communities and in our homes. Wood smoke has many of the same hazardous substances as cigarette smoke so we’re asking the public to consider cleaner alternatives to wood burning to help ensure a healthy 2014 for all Bay Area residents."

The Wednesday 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.

The air quality district has 60 inspectors that follow up on complaints and issue citations.

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