New Year's Eve is a Spare the Air Day: No Burning, But Fireworks Displays Will be Unaffected

Tuesday has been declared a Spare the Air day.

By Bay City News Service

New Year's Eve will be another Winter Spare the Air day, so those planning to pop open a bottle of Champagne next to a roaring fire may have to settle for a few candles instead. 

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued the Spare the Air alert because of continuing dry, stagnant weather that has allowed unhealthy particulate matter to accumulate close to the ground. 

But while Bay Area fireplaces remain dark in the name of clean air, fireworks will still be shot off over the Bay because the Winter Spare the Air alert doesn't apply to them. 

The annual New Year's Eve fireworks show in San Francisco is expected to draw thousands to the city's northern waterfront. 

"It's unfortunate that this may be a bad air quality day," air district spokesman Aaron Richardson said. 

He said that the ban specifically targets wood-burning fireplaces because that is where much of the region's air pollution comes from during the winter months. Fireworks displays occur just a few times a year, he said. 

Richardson said there may be a weather system arriving in the coming days that would sweep away some of the accumulated pollution. 

"We're hoping that toward the end of the week we'll get some flushing out of the air," he said. 

On Winter Spare the Air days, the burning of wood, manufactured fire logs and other solid fuels is banned indoors and outdoors. Households that depend on wood burning as their sole source of heat are exempt from the ban. 

The aim of the ban is to preserve air quality and protect those vulnerable to pollution-related health problems such as children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems. 

Those found to be in violation of the ban will have to pay $100 or take a wood-smoke awareness class. Second offenses are met with a $500 fine, and the cost goes up for subsequent violations. 

Winter Spare the Air season ends Feb. 28. The daily burn status can be found on the air district's web site at www.sparetheair.org or by calling (800) 4-NO-BURN.

Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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Tom Davidson December 30, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Whew. That was close. Nobody will die from lack of fireworks. It's good that the importance of fireworks was taken into consideration.
Prickly Pear December 31, 2013 at 11:40 AM
Agree Tom - and we wouldn't want the vineyard owners to be a little creative - like NOT burning vineyard canes all during January. Too much work to throw them into a chipping machine of some sort...... As for Fireworks - they are a tremendous waste of money.
Jonbie December 31, 2013 at 12:36 PM
I have invented a new firework that looks like a wood log with a wick in it. I plan on setting these off in my fireplace starting at 6 p.m. To a little after midnight to celebrate the new year as it travels coast to coast. I highly recommend that everyone with a fireplace do the same to celebrate the new year and a freedom lost.


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