The Bay Area Air Quality Management District hosts both winter and summer Spare the Air programs to curb air pollution in the region on high pollution days and evenings.
In 2008, the winter program for the first time included a new ban on the use of wood-burning devices when a Winter Spare the Air Alert was in effect, with some limited exceptions. The ban was the result of a regional law passed by the Air District.
A Winter Spare the Air Alert prohibits the burning of any material, including wood, wood pellets or manufactured logs, either indoors or outdoors during the evening of an alert day through noon of the following day. When called, Winter Spare the Air Alerts affect the entire nine-county Bay Area region.
The 2014-15 Winter Spare the Air season ended February 29, 2015. Winter alerts for the next winter season will resume November 1, 2015.
Residents who wish to burn wood or manufactured logs in a fireplace or outdoor fire pit must still burn cleanly and not burn garbage, leaves or other material that would cause excessive smoke. Residents who exceed the excess visible smoke provision in the wood burning rule could still be subject to an air district violation or fine.
The 2015 summer program will begin in May and run through the end of September. For more information, visit www.sparetheair.org or call 1-877-4-NO-BURN.