FAIRFIELD — The streak of days with a Bay Area wood burning ban in place continues.
Residents in southern Solano County – including Fairfield, Suisun City, Vallejo and Benicia – who burn wood in a fireplace on Saturday will face getting a fine. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has called a Winter Spare the Air Day for the seventh consecutive day.
“Wood smoke pollution continues to build up throughout the Bay Area due to a stubborn weather system that has kept the smoke from dispersing,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the district, in a press release.
Cold, stagnant air keeps the smoke from rising. District officials say wood smoke has been linked to asthma, heart problems, cancer and other diseases.
The low temperature before dawn Friday dipped to 30 degrees, compared to the mid-20s on some recent days. Temperatures rose to 57 degrees by noon, compared to only the mid-40s a week ago.
So the weather has been slowly warming, moving away from record-breaking cold for this time of the year. The National Weather Service predicts still further warming in coming days, with low temperatures moving from the high 30s to 40 degrees by Monday.
For Saturday, though, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is predicting another day when wood smoke could pose a health hazard.
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.
Winter Spare the Air season for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District runs until Feb. 28.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.