Winter “Spare the Air” season ends with 16 alerts

Barbara Love

Smoke from the Camp Fire hanging over Piedmont, November 2018

REGIONAL — The Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Winter Spare the Air season ended with 16 alerts issued between November and February, almost all of them due to the devastating Camp Fire in Butte County that sent smoke throughout the region, district officials said Monday.

Only two of the alerts, which ban the burning of wood in the Bay Area, were caused by normal cold and still conditions that trap smoke and other pollutants near the ground, according to the air district.

Nearly two weeks of the alerts came from November’s Camp Fire, which caused some of the unhealthiest air quality ever recorded in the region, air district officials said.

Air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a news release that the Camp Fire made Bay Area residents “very aware of air quality issues and now is the time to take the necessary steps, like switching to cleaner heating options, to protect our air and our health.”

The air district received 1,319 wood smoke complaints in the Bay Area during the four-month season, with the most in Contra Costa at 304. Santa Clara County had 185, San Mateo County had 179, and Sonoma County had 178 complaints.

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