“Spare the Air” alert Wednesday

A “Spare the Air” alert issued for Wednesday means waiting out the cold snap in front of a roaring fire is not an option for Bay Area residents.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued its second alert of the winter Spare the Air season, which means that burning wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel is not allowed.

The ban applies to both indoor and outdoor fires in fireplaces, woodstoves, fire pits or other wood-burning spaces.

A combination of cold temperatures and light winds will trap any smoke in the air, creating a layer of pollution over the Bay Area, said Jack Broadbent, the air district's executive officer.

Wood smoke is especially problematic for children, the elderly and people with heart or lung problems, Broadbent said.

The winter Spare the Air season runs from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28.

According to the BAAQMD, wood smoke from the 1.4 million fireplaces and wood-burning stoves in the Bay Area is a major source of air pollution during this season.

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