Spare the Air Today -- No Wood Fires!

Spare what's left of the air...
The year's first "Spare the Air Day" warning has been issued for Monday. Sorry, you won't get a free ride on public transit -- unless you're unethical.

But you are encouraged to avoid driving if possible (on this very short warning), not dawdle needlessly out of doors, and not ignite any wood-burning fires. The anticipated temperature today, incidentally, is 81 degrees. Again, no wood-burning fires, please.*

Our notably cool summer has thus far staved off the necessity of Spare the Air Days -- which are triggered when ozone levels are predicted to exceed federally recommended health levels. This situation is exacerbated "when clear skies, hot temperatures, lighter than usual winds and a strong temperature inversion combine and trap air pollutants near the ground," according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

By the way -- here's the Bay Area's five-day ozone forecast. If you're in Santa Clara Valley, hold your breath!

*Update, 11:30 a.m.: The Bay Area Air District informs us that, for what it's worth, there is no ban on wood-burning fires today. So, you know, feel free to fire up as the mercury hits 80, 90, and 100.

Kristine Roselius, the air district's public information officer, notes that winter Spare the Air days carry a ban on wood-burning fires, while summer ones are directed at keeping people out of cars. That's simply because "In winter, the primary source of pollution is wood-burning, and in summer it's cars."

This means that, in either season, burning wood in your convertible is inadvisable.

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