Another Spare the Air alert has been issued for the Bay Area for Wednesday, tying the record in the region for four consecutive days of the unhealthy air warnings that trigger a ban on burning wood fires.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District said there is a fair chance the record could be broken Thursday as a cold snap continues. Cold stagnant air is trapping smoke near the ground, and the chilly temperatures are expected to warm up only slightly Thursday.

"We have hit the record of four a number of times before," said Ralph Borrmann, an air district spokesman. "We could break it this week."

Wednesday was the eighth Spare the Air alert of the cold season.

An alert triggers an automatic ban on burning wood fires in fireplaces, stoves and fire pits except in areas where wood fires are the only source of heating.

First-time violators must pay a $100 fine or take a smoke education class online or through the mail. Fines are $500 for second violations.

The district regulates air pollution in seven Bay Area counties and southern parts of Solano and Sonoma counties.

"Cold, calm weather conditions, like those seen over the past few days, result in the unhealthy buildup of wood smoke in the air we breathe," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. "By not burning wood, we all help limit the particulate pollution that poses a serious health problem to many people in our community."

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at