FAIRFIELD — Local residents on Thursday face a fifth consecutive Winter Spare the Air Day and the ninth of the fall.
Cold, stagnant weather is expected to continue keeping smoke close to the ground. Residents in southern Solano County – including Fairfield, Suisun City, Vallejo and Benicia – who burn wood in a fireplace face getting a ticket.
“The fine particulate pollution in wood smoke is as hazardous as cigarette smoke and is the No. 1 air-pollution-related health concern in the region,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, in a press release.
It is illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use their fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or any other wood-burning devices during a Winter Spare the Air alert. Homes without permanently installed heating, where wood stoves or fireplaces are the only source of heat, are exempt.
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.
The mandatory alerts do not affect the north county, including Vacaville, Rio Vista and Dixon. This area is in the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District. However, that district is asking residents to voluntarily refrain from burning wood.
Despite the alerts, the National Weather Service expects the weather to gradually warm in coming days. It predicts lows to slowly climb from the low 30s to 40 degrees by Saturday night. It predicts daytime highs will rise from the mid-50s to 60 degrees by Sunday.
Winter Spare the Air season for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District runs until Feb. 28, 2014.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.