Winter Spare the Air alert issued for Wednesday

A Winter Spare the Air alert has been issued for Wednesday in the Bay Area, banning the burning of wood for 24 hours, regional air quality officials said.

The alert is the seventh issued by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District during the winter season and the second this week, following one issued for Monday.

The air district issued the alert because of a forecast for cool and stagnant weather conditions that are expected to trap wood smoke pollution near the ground.

Although we are seeing beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the skies are the dirtiest we've seen all winter," air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement. "It's important to remember that just one home burning wood can pollute an entire neighborhood."

A low-pressure system and rainy weather is expected to move into the region later in the week, when the air quality is expected to improve.

Air district officials say it's illegal for Bay Area residents to use their fireplaces, woodstoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or other wood-burning devices during Winter Spare the Air days. Violators face fines starting at $100, or can take a wood smoke awareness class.

There are exemptions for residences without permanently installed heating, although those homes need to use an Environmental Protection Agency-certified device that is registered with the air district.

The Winter Spare the Air season runs from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28. Bay Area residents can find out when an alert has been issued by calling (877) 4NO-BURN, visiting, signing up for automatic phone alerts by calling (800) 430-1515 or downloading Spare the Air apps for iPhone or Android devices.