SAN FRANCISCO—The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a Winter Spare The Air Alert which went into effect on Monday, January 30.  A winter spare the air alert is usually issued to bay area residents between the months of November to February.

Cold winter temperatures combined with the stagnant particulate matter, traps smoke close to the ground. Particulate matter, like soot, is the major air quality concern, during the winter months. Tiny particles, either solid or liquid, can be produced by a variety of natural and man-made sources. Such entities driving, boating, using household products or lawn and garden equipment, burning wood, painting, barbecuing, etc., notes the Spare the Air website.

According to the website, air particles that are less than 10 micrometers in diameter can cause significant health problems. “Fine” particles, under 2.5 micrometers pose the biggest threat. The latter are caused by all sorts of combustion (motor vehicles, wood burning, power plants, etc.) and some industrial processes. This creates unhealthy air quality, making the issuance of the alert necessary.

The alert prohibits bay area residents from burning woods, manufactured logs, pellets, or any other solid fuels in the fireplace, wood stove, or outdoor fire pit.

To learn more information about everyday air quality and subscribe to alerts issued, visit