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'Spare the Air' alert issued for Tuesday

 

Another Winter Spare the Air alert has been issued for Tuesday, the fifth day in a row that wood burning will be banned in the Bay Area.

Officials at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said a high-pressure system is causing air pollution to build up rather than disperse in the wind and that this weather may persist through the week.

Tuesday will mark the 11th winter Spare the Air day so far during the season that began Nov. 1. Last year, the Bay Area experienced a record-breaking 11 Spare the Air days in a row, district officials said.

Based on long-range weather forecasts for this week, the region could get close to that record in the coming days.

"There's a chance we could meet that record again if the weather pattern remains dry and the winds remain calm," air district spokesman Tom Flannigan said.

While the alert is in place, burning wood or other solid fuels is prohibited both indoors and outdoors. Wood smoke is a significant source of pollution for the Bay Area, district officials said, and it can be particularly dangerous for children, the elderly, and anyone suffering from respiratory problems.

First-time violators will be subject to a $100 fine. In lieu of paying that fine, they also have the option of attending a wood smoke awareness class.

Fines for subsequent offenses can escalate to $500 or more.

Information on the air district's daily burn status can be found online at baaqmd.gov or sparetheair.org, by phone toll-free at (877) 4-NO-BURN, or via Spare the Air iPhone or Android apps.

— Bay City News Service

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