FAIRFIELD — Solano County residents who want to light a fire in their fireplace on Thursday can do so without the threat of a fine – finally.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District forecasts good air quality for Thursday. As a result, it broke its streak of issuing 11 consecutive Winter Spare the Air alerts. The alerts come with a ban on burning wood in fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits and any other burning device.
Southern Solano County – including Fairfield, Suisun City, Vallejo and Benicia – is within the air district and subject to the mandatory alerts. First-time violators face either a $100 fine or taking a class on the health hazards of wood smoke. Second-time violators face a $500 fine.
But no such threat exists Thursday. A stagnant weather pattern that trapped wood smoke close to the ground is finally predicted to break up. District officials say that breathing wood smoke can cause respiratory problems.
Residents might be able to burn in their fireplaces through the weekend, if air quality forecasts hold up. The five-day forecast issued Wednesday by the district predicted at least moderately good air throughout the Bay Area during this period. Still, the district issues Winter Spare the Air alerts on a day-to-day basis and nothing beyond Thursday’s status is certain.
Northern Solano County – including Vacaville, Dixon and Rio Vista – is in a different air district, the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District. That district issues only voluntary requests for residents to refrain from wood burning.
Winter Spare the Air season for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District runs until Feb. 28. Residents can find out if an alert is in place using the following methods:
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.