Monday, December 23, 2019

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is asking Bay Area residents to not burn wood in their fireplaces or woodstoves over the Christmas holiday to keep air quality from becoming unhealthy.

Spare the Air Status

While air quality is expected to be good to moderate throughout the Bay Area, wood burning during the Christmas holiday can significantly impact localized areas and neighborhoods. Wood burning can also significantly impact indoor air quality.

“We are asking Bay Area residents to forego their fire this Christmas to help keep air pollution low,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “Not burning wood indoors or outdoors will help us all enjoy a healthier, happier holiday.”

Decorative wrapping paper is manufactured using synthetic inks, plastic film, metallic finishes and other chemicals which release toxic and carcinogenic compounds into the air when burned. The smoke is released into your home and neighborhood where family and friends will breathe it in. It is always illegal to burn trash, scrap wood and paper.

A Spare the Air Alert is NOT in effect and wood burning is not illegal. However, wood burning is strongly discouraged at this time.

Like cigarette smoke, wood smoke contains fine particles and carcinogenic substances that make the air unhealthy 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.

Bay Area residents can find out if a Spare the Air Alert is in effect by:

  • Signing up for text alerts. To sign up, text the word “START” to the number 817-57
  • Calling 1-877-4NO-BURN
  • Visiting or
  • Signing up for automatic e-mail AirAlerts at
  • Signing up for automatic phone alerts at
  • Downloading the Spare the Air iPhone or Android app

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

View press release


Last Updated: 12/23/2019