Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Spare the Air Day

Sounds unusual for winter, but when you read the story it appears only one monitor, in North Sacramento, registered high enough, mostly from wood burning fires (to be illegal to install starting October 26, 2007) to trigger the alert.

Smoke prompts first cold-weather area smog alert
By Edie Lau - Bee Staff WriterPublished 12:00 am PST Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Sacramentans are used to "Spare the Air" days in the thick summer heat. This week, heavy particle pollution caused by a combination of wood smoke, traffic and weather has prompted the area's first "Spare the Air" days in colder weather.

And in another first, local air officials are asking the public not to build fires, inside or out, until pollution levels subside.

Particulate readings have been high in the vicinity of Town and Country Village since Friday and are expected to continue today to reach concentrations considered unhealthy for sensitive people.

"This is the first time that we've ever had a 'Spare the Air' program dealing with wintertime pollution, particularly with particulates," said Jamie Arno, a Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District spokeswoman. "On these days, we ask you not to burn anything."
As with its summertime "Spare the Air" program, which focuses on ozone pollution, the district also urges everyone to drive less.

While ozone tends to build fairly uniformly around the region, particulate pollution is highly localized. Of eight monitors located in Sacramento, Yolo, Placer and Solano counties, only one has been registering very high readings recently.

That monitor is located at Del Paso Manor School Park on Avalon Drive just north of El Camino Avenue and east of Watt Avenue...

...While the no-burn request is just that -- a request, and not a mandate -- the air district is beginning to impose rules on wood burning. As of Oct. 26 next year, it will be illegal to install traditional open-hearth fireplaces in all homes, new and existing. Permanent outdoor fireplaces also will be prohibited.