A Winter Spare the Air Day Alert Around The Corner, But Who Cares?

by on January 11, 2012

in consumer

Spare the Air, Bay AreaOver the 2011 holidays, we had several Winter Spare the Air alerts. All of them on critical days when friends and family would have loved to have had a fireplace going… Christmas eve, Christmas day, etc., etc..

The timing was poorly executed by mother nature. But none-the-less, the advisory board that runs the show distributed the warnings, regardless of the day.

It felt like the Grinch was running the show.

But it can be pricey to ignore the official warnings… first offense is a warning for any Bay Area resident found burning anything during the Spare the Air warnings. Subsequent fines could land in the $400 range.

That would be one expensive fireplace. The only exemptions are those who depend solely on fireplaces or wood stoves for their heat.

Back in 2008 when the Spare the Air program went into effect, they had seventy inspectors roaming neighborhoods.


According to an NBC Bay Area news report, many people are using the system, but few are getting fined.

Just over this last Christmas season, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District fielded 400 calls from neighbors reporting their neighbors.

But since 2008, the org has received over 5,000 complaints, but despite the 600+ issued warnings, they’ve only distributed 12 tickets for burning on a Spare the Air day.

And the program costs over $1M to operate.

This doesn’t seem to add up for anyone.

Consumer Bits on Brusimm 200w logo, [Consumer News, advice and reviews]Yet the program is focused more on educating than fining. As is evident, considering they’ve received 2,600 complaints this winter season, with 0, that’s zero, citations.

But still, I wouldn’t want to be that “lucky” thirteenth fine!


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