Bay Area’s “Spare The Air” Is Back At It

by on November 27, 2014

in consumer

Spare the Air, Bay AreaYet again, the good citizens of the Bay Area region are asked, no, ordered, to abide by a “No Burn” restriction that has been distributed by the air quality board of the Bay Area.

Once again, as families come together to enjoy each other’s company, they cannot light a fire and gather around the fireplace.  Since these burn bans are called by humans, it is pretty fascinating. Or at least that is one term I have in mind.

Over the last few years the Spare the Air program has nailed all the major holidays and eves to those holidays.

I used to think this system or process was a soulless automated process. Then I learned that there is a live human pulling the trigger on these bans. pulling the trigger on holidays.

Yep, a human. And they seem to NEVER want you to have a fire with your family on a holiday, ever. SNARK!

How do they choose days to declare no burn?

Air District meteorologists look at a lot of factors such as historical data, weather conditions and if they think people will be using their fireplaces. They then assign a number on their scale.

Well of course people might want to use their fireplaces on family holidays. Arg.

I hate to be the fuddy here, but seriously, don’t you think family holidays should be exempt?

And then to read various reports that state that they aren’t even right sometimes is rather irritating.

Per an NBC report,

The Air District issues “Spare the Air” days when officials believe the air will be unhealthy. While forecasting is not an exact science, officials are making a lot of errors, which could be affecting your health and costing you money.

Which has me wondering just how many family fireplace days have been missed because of errors over the years?

In one example the investigative unit looked at,

So far this season, that’s happened 14 times, which means 14 days residents couldn’t burn wood. However, NBC Bay Area found the air quality was unhealthy on just four of those days. When questioned if the Air District is issuing false alarms, Roselius said, “Absolutely not. We only call them when we have to. When we call an alert and we come in under the health standard, that is a victory. That is fantastic.”

And yet, over the last couple of years, we’ve had alerts every single holiday in November and December. Just saying.

If you are worried about this “fine” for burning wood on “ban days,” another 2011 NBC Report said that,

Since 2008, the Air District has received more than 5,000 complaints.  It has issued 623 warnings, and just 12 tickets.

To boot, this program where they distribute holiday-ruining burn bans, it’s been noted that the program is NOT very cost effective. Remember those 12 tickets?  It cost the county a million to run this program.

He says the program doesn’t seem cost effective.   The tab for winter ‘Spare the Air’ is more than $1M.  It’s spent on things like phone alerts, advertisements, and the cost to mail citations and warnings.

So with them dropping a mil on a program that cancels family fireplace times, there was this added nugget of info:

“It’s not about sending out tickets and warning letters. It’s about educating the public.”

Which has me asking the question… whey threaten family time with public education that could possibly have a fine attached to it?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone ! Have fun with your fire places.

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