Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Air district calls 10th consecutive burn ban

By
December 18, 2013 | 2 Comments

FAIRFIELD — Another late-autumn day, another burn ban for the Bay Area and southern Solano County.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has called a 10th consecutive Winter Spare the Air day for Tuesday. It predicts that the prevailing weather pattern will continue to make pollution from wood smoke a potential public health problem.

Residents in southern Solano County – including Fairfield, Suisun City, Vallejo and Benicia – who burn wood will face getting a fine. That includes using fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves and outdoor fire pits. Homes without permanently installed heating, where wood stoves or fireplaces are the only source of heat, are exempt.

Pollutants accumulate over a number of days, district spokesman Ralph Borrmann said.

“If we had rain, that would bring lots of wind and push things out,” Borrmann said. “But it’s been an incredibly dry year.”

District officials predict that an onshore breeze may develop by Wednesday. But the winds might be slow to arrive and air quality might not improve enough to avoid an 11th consecutive alert that day, they said in a press release.

Winter Spare the Air alerts are issued on a day-to-day basis, Borrmann said.

First-time violators face a $100 fine or must take a class to learn about the hazards of wood smoke pollution. Second-time violators face a $500 ticket, with the amount rising for subsequent offenses.

Mandatory alerts do not affect the north county, including Vacaville, Rio Vista and Dixon. That area is in the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District, which issues voluntary alerts only.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has divided the Bay Area into five zones: The Northern, Coast and Central Bay, Eastern, South Central and Santa Clara Valley zones. It makes air quality predictions for each zone. But when it calls a Spare the Air alert, the alert covers the entire district.

As it stands, Fairfield-Suisun and Benicia didn’t escape the bad air Monday and aren’t expected to Tuesday. The air district lists air quality in the Eastern Zone for those two days as being unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as people with respiratory disease.

Vallejo is in the Northern Zone, which the district predicts will have moderately good air Tuesday. But since Winter Spare the Air alerts are districtwide, Vallejo residents still face a fine if they burn wood Tuesday.

Winter Spare the Air season for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District runs through Feb. 28. It’s the 14th Winter Spare the Air alert of the season.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or beberling@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
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Discussion | 2 comments

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  • The MisterDecember 17, 2013 - 6:51 am

    March march march march... jackboots are here! You must comply. Failure to comply will result in confiscation of your property and then confinement! We will find you!! Your neighbors will tell us because they appreciate the great good. Your children will tell the government teacher all the bad things you do at home... a fire in the fireplace just one of the ways you damage your children. You will comply! Comply!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JazzAzzDecember 17, 2013 - 7:18 am

    Man it looks like at this rate we will not be able to enjoy our fireplaces the entire winter, from this abusive Gestapo board. Here is what I plan to do, since their apparent authority to stop us from burning ends Feb 28th. No matter our cool or comfortable it will be, I will burn my entire winters worth of wood that I would have burned all winter, after that day, hopefully spewing all its' pollutants in THEIR direction, hence meaning that they would have not accomplished a thing as far as my wood supply goes.!!!!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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