Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Air District is asking residents to not burn wood on Thanksgiving Day, to help prevent air pollution from rising to unhealthy levels.

Spare the Air Status

Smoke pollution from the Camp Fire in Butte County has caused unhealthy air quality in the region for nearly two weeks. A couple of weather systems are moving through the area Wednesday and Thursday and helping to push smoke out of the region. Air quality is expected to be in the low- to mid-moderate range on Thanksgiving Day and extensive wood burning over the holiday could cause air quality to become unhealthy again.

A Winter Spare the Air Alert is NOT in effect and wood burning is not illegal, but strongly discouraged.

“For nearly two weeks, smoke from the Camp Fire has blanketed the region and caused health impacts for many Bay Area residents," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Bay Area Air District. "As the smoke clears and air quality recovers, we’re asking the public to not burn wood on Thanksgiving Day to ensure smoke levels do not become unhealthy again. With the public’s help, we can all have clean air to breathe over the holiday."

Like cigarette smoke, wood smoke contains fine particles and carcinogenic substances that make the air harmful to breathe. Wood smoke is the major source of air pollution in the Bay Area in the wintertime and is especially harmful to children, the elderly and people with respiratory conditions.

The public must check before they burn during the Winter Spare the Air season, which runs from November 1 through February 28. The daily burn or alert status can be found:

  • Via text alerts! To sign up, text the word “START” to the number 817-57
  • On the Air District Web sites: or
  • Via the toll-free hotline 1-877-4-NO-BURN (complaints can also be filed via the hotline)
  • By signing up for AirAlerts at or phone alerts at 1-800-430-1515
  • Via the Spare the Air iPhone and Android Apps

In the winter, wood smoke from the 1.4 million fireplaces and wood stoves in the Bay Area is the single largest source of air pollution, contributing about one-third of the harmful fine particulate pollution in the air. One fireplace burning can pollute an entire neighborhood. Exposure to wood smoke—like cigarette smoke—has been linked to serious respiratory illnesses and even increased risk of heart attacks. Breathing fine particulate accounts for more than 90 percent of premature deaths related to air pollution.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area. Connect with the Air District via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. For more information about Spare the Air, visit

View press release.

Last Updated: 8/18/2021