FAIRFIELD — Wood burning in Bay Area fireplaces will be prohibited on Christmas Day.
A high pressure system is keeping smoke close to the ground. As a result, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued a third consecutive Winter Spare the Air alert.
“Please respect everyone’s health this holiday by observing the Winter Spare the Air Alert . . . (by) not burning wood in your fireplace,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the district, in a press release. “We don’t want anyone to spend their holiday in the emergency room because they are unable to breathe. ”
Residents in southern Solano County – including Fairfield, Suisun City, Vallejo and Benicia – who burn wood in a fireplace on Wednesday will face getting a fine.
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. 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.