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Saturday is the Fifth-Straight Spare the Air Day

Wood burning is banned unless it's a home's only source of heat.

By Bay City News Service

A fifth straight Winter Spare the Air alert -- the 27th since November -- has been issued by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District for Saturday, banning wood burning in the region.

The alert was issued because of a forecast of unhealthy air quality in the Bay Area due to a persistent stagnant cold weather pattern that is trapping pollutants low to the ground, according to the air district.

On Winter Spare the Air days, wood burning is banned in the Bay Area both indoors and outdoors. Homes that rely on wood burning as their lone source of heat are exempt from the ban.

Wood smoke is the major cause of winter air pollution and is linked to illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and lung disease, according to the air district.

The 27 alerts issued are the most since 2006-07, when 30 were issued during the Winter Spare the Air season from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28, air district officials said.

Those who violate the ban can take a wood smoke awareness class or pay a fine of $100. Subsequent violations lead to fines of $500 or higher.

The daily burn status can be found by visiting www.sparetheair.org or calling (877) 4NO-BURN.

Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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