Residents asked to 'Spare the Air' tonight

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has announced a Spare the Air advisory for tonight due to unhealthy air quality forecasts.

Bay Area residents are being asked to avoid burning wood in fireplaces and woodstoves, which are a large contributor to airtime pollution levels, according to air quality spokeswoman Karen Schkolnick.

Small particle pollution from unnecessary wood burning contributes to between 30 and 40 percent of wintertime air pollution, Schkolnick said.

The particles released by wood burning can be inhaled into lungs because of their small size, she said.

“It's one of the largest sources (of air pollution) that individuals have the most control over,” she said.

The advisory is in reaction to unhealthy air forecasts for the San Jose and Santa Clara Valley areas, Schkolnick said, but because air is a shared resource, all Bay Area residents are being asked to voluntarily participate.

In addition to avoiding wood burning, residents are being asked to drive less, according to officials. Residents should postpone errands and use public transit when possible, Schkolnick said.

The Spare the Air advisory will be in effect until Wednesday night.

Public transit is not free for winter Spare the Air advisories.

— Bay City News

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