FAIRFIELD — New Year’s Day arrives with another Bay Area burn ban in place.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District called a mandatory Winter Spare the Air alert for Wednesday. Residents in southern Solano County – including Fairfield, Suisun City, Vallejo and Benicia – who burn wood in a fireplace face getting a fine.
This marks the 24th Winter Spare Alert of this fall and winter. The Spare the Air season runs from Nov. 1 through February.
The district issued 10 alerts for the entire 2012-13 season, 15 for 2011-12, four for 2010-11, seven for 2009-2010, 11 for 2008-09 and six for 2007-08. But this season still hasn’t topped 2006-07. The district that year called 30 Winter Spare the Air alerts.
The same high pressure that has kept storms away from the Bay Area for most of the fall and winter is also trapping chimney smoke close to the ground.
“Wood smoke has many of the same hazardous substances as cigarette smoke,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the 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.
Residents can find out if an alert is in place using the following methods:
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.