FAIRFIELD — Air quality officials have extended a wood-burning ban for another day Sunday, the eighth consecutive Winter Spare the Air day.
The ban by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District includes Fairfield, Suisun City, Vallejo and Benicia along with the adjacent unincorporated areas of southern Solano County. Those who burn wood in fireplaces or similar devices face the possibility of a fine.
Persistent cold weather and the accompanying stagnant air keeps wood smoke from rising. The polluted air contributes to asthma, heart problems, cancer and other diseases, air quality officials say. Those potential health hazards are likely to persist into Sunday, prompting the Winter Space the Air alert.
The air quality warning makes it illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use their fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or any other wood-burning devices. 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, Dixon and the surrounding areas. This area is in the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District, which has a Don’t Light Tonight advisory in effect through Sunday due to projected moderate air pollution levels. Compliance is voluntary.
Relief – both from the severe cold weather and the accompanying air pollution concerns – may be on the horizon.
The forecast for Fairfield calls for a high in the low 60s Sunday with an overnight low in the mid- to high 30s, according to the National Weather Service. Monday’s forecast calls for a high in the mid-60s and an overnight low in the high 30s. Highs for Tuesday and Wednesday are projected in the high 50s and low 60s, with overnight lows in the low 40s.
Winter Spare the Air season for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District began Nov. 1 and runs through Feb. 28. It’s the 12th Winter Spare the Air alert of the season.
Reach Glen Faison at 427-6925 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GlenFaison.