If you live in the SF Bay Area, say goodbye to the cozy, romantic fireplace

Before you light up your San Francisco Bay Area fireplace, check the Internet, to see if it’s a Spare the Air Day. If it is, and if you light up anyway, be prepared for a $2,000 fine.

Regulation 6, Rule 3, passed on July 9, 2008, restricts people’s ability to burn wood when the Bay Area Air Quality Management District says that air quality is unhealthy. The ruling went into effect today.

You can read about the ruling here, on the BAAQMD site, and also read about reaction to it in the San Francisco Chronicle.

“After the initial warning, repeat violators will be permitted to attend “smoke school” – similar to traffic school – in lieu of paying fines. But four-figure fines will be assessed against those who fail to get the message,” says the newspaper story.

We had the wood-burning fireplace in our home converted to natural gas a few years ago, as part of a living room renovation, so this ruling doesn’t affect us directly. Still, it’s irksome that the government regulates home fireplaces.

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick
1 reply
  1. Paul N. Leroux
    Paul N. Leroux says:

    Some municipalities in Quebec are also introducing legislation like this. But instead of going after fireplaces, they’re targeting wood stoves, which, according to one study, account for 47% of smog on Montreal Island. Winter lasts about 6 months in Montreal, which means 10s of thousands of wood stoves burn 24/7 for months on end.

    Fireplaces, though, are exempt, for the simple reason that people use ’em sporadically, rather than continuously.

    – Paul

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