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Spare The Air Declared For Wednesday; Pollution May Douse Holiday Fires

More alerts may be issued later in week if cold, still weather persists, making virtual yule logs the thing to do this weekend.

Bah, humbug! Polluted air is triggering yet another Spare The Air alert for Wednesday, and may mean the only yule logs allowed will be the televised or virtual kind.

Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) officials said cold, still weather conditions this week may mean fire burning will be prohibited just when folks were planning on enjoying cozy, holiday fires.

Weather conditions forecast for Wednesday are expected to create
unhealthy air quality, prompting the all-day ban on burning wood,
manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors.

That weather is expected to continue throughout the weekend.

"The current weather pattern that is trapping air pollution close
to the ground will stay in place and keep pollution levels high likely into
the holiday weekend," air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said.

The ban will be in effect for Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa,
San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, southern Sonoma and southwestern
Solano counties, district officials said.

During winter months, wood smoke is the leading cause of
wintertime air pollution in the Bay Area, according to district officials. Wood smoke contains harmful pollutants, such as soot and carbon
monoxide, and toxins such as dioxin, which has been linked to increased
cancer rates in adults.

About one-third of the harmful soot in the winter air can be
attributed to wood smoke from the 1.4 million fireplaces and wood stoves in
the Bay Area, according to the district.

More information about the ban and on whether it is in effect can
be found at www.sparetheair.org or by calling 877-4NO-BURN (466-2876).

Those wishing to receive automatic phone calls when a Winter Spare
the Air alert is issued can register for the alerts by calling 800-430-1515.

-- Bay City News

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