Wood fires will be banned in the Bay Area on Friday, the third day in a row that a Spare the Air alert has been called due to forecasts for unhealthy air quality.

Spare the Air alerts also are possible for Saturday and Sunday, which would give the region a record five consecutive winter days in a row with health alerts, said officials at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

A high pressure system in the weather this week has locked the Bay Area into a pattern of cold stagnant air at night and early morning, trapping wood smoke and other particles near the ground.

During the 24-hour Spare the Air alerts, the nine-county air pollution district bans wood fires in fireplaces, fire inserts, stoves, or outdoor fire pits.

"It's not uncommon to have long periods of cold weather at night with consecutive days of Spare the Air alerts, but five days in a row would be a record for us," said Aaron Richardson, an air district spokesman.

Friday's will be the sixth Spare the Air alert of the season.

First time offenders caught burning wood fires during alerts are required to take an online class or read materials about the health hazards of smoke, or pay a $100 fine.Second time offenders can be fined $500, and third time offenders can be fined larger amounts.

Public health experts say smoke and other fine pollution particles have been linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses and increased risk of heart attacks, especially among the sick and elderly.


Advertisement

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff