Bay Area Air District bans wood burning year-round to protect air quality during wildfires

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Thursday, November 21, 2019
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The Bay Area Air Quality Management District voted to adopt a new amendment that strengthens wood burning rule by banning wood burning year-round to protect air quality and health during wildfires.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Bay Area Air Quality Management District voted to allow a ban on wood burning year-round when particulate matter pollution reaches unhealthy levels.

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Before adopting the new amendment, wood burning was prohibited only during Winter Spare the Air Alerts from Nov. through Feb.

The extension to ban burning wood is to reduce the health and air quality impacts during wildfires. Like wildfire smoke, wood smoke contains particulate matter and carbon monoxide, which are carcinogenic substances that are harmful when inhaled.

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"As wildfires become increasingly normal in California, it is critical we take action to safeguard public health when wildfire smoke affects air quality," said Jack Broadbent, executive director for the Air District. "The strengthening of this rule will reduce harmful smoke pollution and help protect the health of every Bay Area resident during wildfires."

In response to the PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs, the Air District says there is an exemption that allows wood burning when there is no alternate form of heat available. However, wood burning is discouraged during a planned shutoff because it coincides with increased fire risk and adds more air pollution when levels may already be high.

The BAAQMD is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the Bay Area. For more information about Spare the Air, visit their website here.