The Winter Spare the Air season begins on Nov. 1

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The Winter Spare the Air season begins on Nov. 1

Postby Wilberforce » Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:47 pm

The Winter Spare the Air season begins on Nov. 1, making it illegal to burn wood, manufactured firelogs or any other solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors, when a Winter Spare the Air Alert is called.

Like cigarette smoke, wood smoke contains many carcinogenic substances which make the air harmful to breathe. The fine particulate pollution in wood smoke is especially harmful for children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions, and is known to cause more than 90 percent of the premature deaths related to air pollution.

“The Winter Spare the Air program has successfully helped the public understand the hazards of wood smoke while helping us make significant progress toward cleaner air in our neighborhoods,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Bay Area Air District.

“Wood smoke is the other second hand smoke so fewer unhealthy air days means healthier air quality for everyone living in the nine counties of the Bay Area.”

The Air District calls Winter Spare the Air Alerts when weather conditions trap pollution close to the ground and air quality is forecast to be unhealthy. The Winter Spare the Air season runs from Nov. 1, 2013, through Feb. 28, 2014.

Cold temperatures and calm winds during the winter season can cause wood smoke to build up in residential neighborhoods.

When air quality is forecast to be unhealthy, a Winter Spare the Air Alert will be called for the next full calendar day. During an alert, the use of wood-burning devices, including fireplaces, pellet stoves, wood stoves and outdoor fire pits is forbidden.

Bay Area residents can check before they burn by:
• Calling 1-877-4NO-BURN
• Visiting or
• Signing up for automatic e-mail AirAlerts at
• Signing up for automatic phone alerts by calling 1-800-430-1515
• Downloading the Spare the Air iPhone and Android apps.

First-time violators of the Wood Burning Rule will be encouraged to take a Wood Smoke Awareness course to learn more about the health impacts from wood smoke and the weather conditions that lead to unhealthy air quality in the winter.

Those who choose not to take the course will receive a $100 ticket. Second violations are subject to a $500 ticket, with the ticket amount increasing for any subsequent violations.

There are also year-round prohibitions on excessive smoke and burning garbage and other harmful materials like junk mail, plastic, wood pallets and more in fireplaces and woodstoves.

Residents concerned about wood smoke pollution may call 1-877-4NO-BURN or visit to file a complaint or to get more information.

An exemption is available for residents and businesses that burn wood as their sole source of heat and have no other permanently installed heating source.

source ... ins-friday


Earth Log: San Joaquin Valley's dirty air reappears in October

Published: October 29, 2013 Updated 22 hours ago

By Mark Grossi — The Fresno Bee

The October whiplash is in full swing. The San Joaquin Valley's dirty air suddenly made a comeback in the last 11 days, then it quickly vanished Monday in an autumn storm.

A few weeks ago, I had written that the Valley has a good shot at the lowest-ever recorded number of federal eight-hour ozone exceedances. With a rash of exceedances — eight since Oct. 19 — it's going to be close.

The season total now is 91. The record is 93.

South Coast Air Basin in Southern California has 94 exceedances, and it may not add to its total. The region has had only one ozone November exceedance in the last five years.

It's possible the Valley could wind up with more ozone exceedances than South Coast this year. That would mean the Valley would have the most in the nation.

There's another Valley air issue worth mentioning. A reader points out high hourly readings for tiny particle pollution or soot.

He says he believes people are lighting wood in their fireplaces and wonders why the residential wood-burning ban doesn't start in October. The rule kicks in Nov. 1 each year.

As I understand it, the federal threshold — the standard for PM-2.5 — is an average over 24 hours. So hourly readings, by themselves, are not considered exceedances.

But the reader pointed out some hourly readings above the threshold and noted the wood-burning ban is triggered by a more stringent level.

He also checked the data dating back many years on the California Air Resources Board's website and concluded that October is known for these problems. It might be worth taking a longer look at this point.

Remember, wood-burning restrictions begin Friday. Check with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District's website to see whether wood-burning is allowed in your county before you light up.

San Joaquin River revival flow increased

This week, San Joaquin River water started pouring out of Friant Dam a little faster than it has been. It's part of the experimental flows in the river restoration project.

For those who don't follow the river closely, I'll explain a little. Water releases from Friant have been going on for decades to supply landowners immediately downstream of the dam. It's usually just a trickle.

This week, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is ramping up to 1,050 cubic feet per second — about 2,000 acre-feet of water per day. Later this week, the release will be dropped to 700 cfs through Nov. 6. Then it will dip to 350 until the end of February.

The restoration project, which began four years ago, is supposed to reconnect the dried parts of the river with the Pacific Ocean. One of the project's goals is to bring back runs of salmon that died off decades ago.

The releases over the next several days mimic nature by attracting migrating chinook salmon to move upstream for spawning, a bureau spokeswoman said. Biologists and other wildlife officials are studying the river's reaction to the reintroduction of fish and flows.

Biologists have tagged and planted salmon in the river to follow their progress.

A big concern is seepage downstream beyond the Mendota Pool on the Valley's west side. The flows have gotten into farm fields and caused damage, growers say.

Federal officials have installed underground water monitoring systems to detect when groundwater is rising in reaction to the extra flows.

Also, local landowners have been alerted to call or email federal officials if they see seepage. Bureau leaders say they are prepared to reduce the flow if problems appear.

source ... nhale.html
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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