By Bay City News Service
Weather predictions for Thursday in the Bay Area have prompted air quality officials to issue the third Winter Spare the Air alert of the season.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District on Wednesday issued the alert, which bans burning wood, manufactured fire logs, or any other solid fuel both indoors and outdoors.
Air quality is expected to be unhealthy in the region due to cold weather and a lack of wind that will trap pollutants in the air close to the ground, according to the district.
Particulate matter from wood smoke is the main source of winter air pollution, and has been linked to illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and lung disease.
The pollutants can be especially dangerous to children, the elderly, and people with heart or lung conditions.
People who are found to be burning wood during a Spare the Air Day could face hefty fines. First-time offenders will receive a warning, but a second violation is subject to a $400 fine, with steeper fines for further violations.
Residents and businesses that burn wood as their only source of heat are exempt from the alerts.
The two previous Spare the Air Days of the season were on Dec. 1 and Dec. 12.