The Bay Area will ring in the new year with a Spare the Air Day on Tuesday, air quality officials announced today.
It is the first Spare the Air alert of the winter season and bans the burning of wood, manufactured fire logs or any solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
During this Winter Spare the Air Alert, it is illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use their fireplaces, woodstoves and inserts, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits, or any other wood-burning devices.
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.
"Current weather conditions are expected to allow air pollution to build up to unhealthy levels on New Year's Day," BAAQMD executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement.
"Sitting by the fire during the holidays may conjure up fond memories but it's important that everyone forgoes burning during this alert so we can all enjoy a happy, healthy holiday," Broadbent said.
Exposure to wood smoke—like cigarette smoke—has been linked to serious respiratory illnesses and even increased risk of heart attacks. Breathing fine particles or soot accounts for more than 90 percent of premature deaths related to air pollution.
The Winter Spare the Air season runs from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28.
Bay City News contributed to this report
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