Santa Claus better not see any fires when he comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued a Spare the Air alert for Saturday, banning the burning of wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors.
The alert, the ninth in the region since the winter season started on Nov. 1, was issued because of anticipated cold and still weather conditions that will trap air pollution close to the ground.
The 24-hour ban prevents the use of fireplaces, woodstoves, outdoor fire pits or any other wood-burning devices. Homes without permanently installed heating are exempt from the ban.
"We want everyone to be able to enjoy this holiday season at home with loved ones rather than spending it in the emergency room with a relative having difficulty breathing," Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air district, said in a statement.
During the winter months, wood smoke is the leading cause of air pollution in the Bay Area, according to district officials.
Wood smoke contains harmful pollutants such as soot and carbon monoxide and toxins such as dioxin, which has been linked to increased cancer rates in adults.
More information about the ban can be found at www.sparetheair.org or by calling 877-4NO-BURN. Those wishing to receive automatic phone calls when a Winter Spare the Air alert is issued can register by calling 800-430-1515.
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