Update: ‘Spare the Air’ alerts in Berkeley now through Thursday

Tuesday has been forecast to be a high pollution day in Berkeley. Source: AIRNow

Update, 1:45 p.m. “Spare the Air” alerts have been called for Wednesday and Thursday too. The wood-burning ban is in effect for Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, southern Sonoma and southwestern Solano counties.

Original story, 8 a.m. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is warning of high pollution Tuesday, with air quality reaching levels that are unhealthy for sensitive groups.

That means people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should limit prolonged or heavy exertion.

It’s the fifth “Spare the Air” day since Friday. As a result, it’s illegal to burn wood or any other solid fuels inside or outside.


According to the Air Quality district, a “persistent ridge of high pressure is … bringing dry, calm weather conditions to the region until later this week. These conditions create a temperature inversion that acts like a lid, causing unhealthy air pollution to build up.”

Wildfires in Southern California have pushed smoke offshore locally, but the smoke has stayed “above the inversion layer, creating vivid sunsets but not contributing to already poor air quality.”

The Air Quality Management District says wood burning creates about a third of the particulate pollution on any given winter night. Other significant causes of particulate pollution include on-road vehicles, geological dust, combustion and other mobile sources.

Berkeley is in the “Coast and Central Bay” zone. See more zones. Source: Bay Area Air Quality Management District

From Wednesday through Saturday, air quality is forecast to be moderate. To see the current forecast visit www.sparetheair.org.

Want to report illegal burning activity? File a wood smoke complaint online or call 877-4NO-BURN (877-466-2876). Sign up for email updates from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Learn more about the Spare the Air program.