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Dozens of 'no-burn' violations on Christmas

Original post made on Dec 29, 2009

Despite a Spare the Air alert issued for Christmas day, some residents still lit logs in their fireplaces, an air district spokesman said today. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District recorded 47 potential violations of the regional no-burn restriction, air district spokesman Ralph Borrmann said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, December 28, 2009, 1:48 PM

Comments (50)

Posted by Will
a resident of Blackhawk
on Dec 29, 2009 at 6:56 am

Having a spare the air day on Xmas day in DEC. during a cold brisk day is stupid, I dont think it makes any Diff. about the air quility. A forest fire is millions of times worse ,This agency is a waste of time I only hoped they handed out enough fines to pay their damn wage and inflated indeserved retirement.More State stuff wasting money WERE BROKE !!!! ! Willy

Posted by LB
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2009 at 7:05 am

Every little bit helps....Get some Gas Logs Willy and you won't have to worry about it any more.

Posted by Willy T
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2009 at 7:08 am

I agree. Drive up I-5 in the fall. The sky is brown for miles and miles from agricultural burning. How much can a few residentual fireplaces reduce air quality compared to that. This agency is an expensive joke.

Posted by LB
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2009 at 7:11 am

Very Good counterpoint.

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2009 at 8:05 am

Google is everybody's friend. Here's what 3 minutes on an inquiry revealed about agricultural burning and its reegulation in CA, here: Web Link

"Pollutants from agricultural burning contribute less
than 3 percent to Sacramento’s main air quality threat,
ground-level ozone. The primary source of regional
pollution continues to be motor vehicles — 70 percent,
in fact. However, as part of the effort to reduce air
pollution in the Sacramento Valley Air Basin, agricultural
burning is controlled through a process of permits,
rules and regulations.

Penalties for violating California air pollution
regulations can be expensive — as much as $50,000 per
day. Keeping agricultural burning operations within the
law not only avoids costly penalties, but helps provide a
healthier environment for everyone.

Who may burn agricultural waste, and when?
Agricultural burning in Sacramento County may
only be conducted by farmers who have:
· A valid Agricultural Burn Permit issued by
the Agricultural Commissioner.
· Authorization to burn on a specific day,
obtained by contacting the Agricultural
Commissioner and the local fire district.

This type of burning is allowed only on Permissive
Burn Days, when forecasted weather conditions create
enough air movement to permit good smoke dispersal.
Burning is not authorized on No-burn Days, when
stagnant air provides little movement or ventilation of
smoke. Burning is also restricted to certain times of the
day and prohibited on Spare The Air days, when
unhealthy ozone levels are predicted during the summer.
Most rice burning takes place in the fall or early
spring; corn and wheat are usually burned in the summer."

You can also learn there that the State cannot ban ag burning (grace of the potent Big Ag farm Lobby), but that a 1998 law calls for phase-down of this activity, which is occurring.

Re winter SpTA days, I believe the concern is with cold, still air, which tends to cause "inversions" -- a phenomenon I don't understand -- maybe google will be someone else's friend? -- but the effect of which is to trap the smoke near ground-level, such that allergics, asthmatics, others with breathing problems and Grandma have difficulties.

C'mon, Willy, what have you got against Grandma?

Posted by James
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 29, 2009 at 8:33 am

Very suspicious that two of three so far are on major public holidays, when everyone is at home. Is it just a way to rack up overtime for the meddling little bureaucrats?

Why not start monitoring all the cyclists and runners - I'm sure they're pumping out way too much carbon dioxide.

Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2009 at 8:39 am

Face it folks, we created this monster and now it is devouring us!

Bureaucrats love to throw around power and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is merely another example of "nanny government!"

Posted by rufous
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 29, 2009 at 9:03 am

Now we have neighbors telling on their neighbors and people looking over their shoulders in fear for what? a frickin fire in their fireplace? There is no medicine or science behind this facade, just more of the typical california self righteous enviro-naziism. While were at it, why don't we enact unenforceable "no talking on your cell phone while driving" laws, or better yet, outlaw killer plastic grocery bags?

Posted by LP
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2009 at 9:24 am

On some levels, this feels like an invasion of privacy, although, I get that it is something that isn't staying within my privacy (people outside can see and smell it). Our local government is flexing muscles they should never have earned.

I went to a breakfast meeting with the Danville Mayor a while back. A woman there requested that he tell her neighbors that they are not allowed to smoke their cigars in their backyard because she can smell it and it bothers her. He held back a 'you-gotta-be-kidding' laugh, though others weren't so kind.
So, he couldn't do anything about what someone does in their backyard that is 'harmful', but they can come into my house and tell me when I can and when I can't light a fire in my fireplace that adds a miniscule amount of pollution in the air?

Especially on the holidays, a fire brings family and friends together. It's a bonding time with a focal point other than a TV. And THIS is what they choose to attack as an enemy?? It's stupid, inconsiderate, thoughtless, dictatorship of power that I don't remember voting into anyone's hands.

Is there a way we can reverse this?

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2009 at 9:55 am

Lord, I'm tired of angry, whiney guys who bluster on about their rights, spout conclusory positions without evidence, ascribe ulterior motivations to others with cynical, paranoid glee -- and ultimately refuse to accept the responsibility that what they do impacts other people in the Community where they live.

The frontier closed, guys -- long ago. Any considerate individual has to take into account his/her effects on others. I'm reminded of the insightful Steve Martin gag about the relative intrusions of smoking and flatulence. Sometimes, we have to codify and enforce rules of this consideration, especially when the impacts aren't obvious.

Basically, you have a nanny state because your mama should have taught you better. Not to mention that unlearned lesson about the constant bytchin'-and-moanin'. Man-up, please.

Posted by Lee
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2009 at 11:17 am

How would you like to spend xmas day in the ER? That's what we had to do because some idiot neighbor had to burn a log in his fireplace. My wife has asthma. Is your stupid macho fireplac more important than someone being able to breath?!!!!!!! Just turn on your damned heater if you want to keep warm. You don't have the right to deprive someone of the right to breathe.

Posted by The more you know...
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 29, 2009 at 11:53 am

"Charming" is for fireplaces, but they're no good for heating, as follows: Web Link

"Nothing matches the charm of a glowing fire in the fireplace, but owners should be aware that they may actually be paying much more for heating and cooling than they would without the fireplace.

The Problem

Testing conducted by a major laboratory revealed that between 80 percent and 90 percent of the heat produced by wood burned in an open fireplace is lost up the chimney. This means that for every $100 you spend for firewood, you get only $10 to $20 worth of heat. The rest goes up the chimney.

An open fireplace also draws much more air than needed for combustion. As the large volume of air is drawn up the chimney, warm air from other areas of your house goes up the chimney, too. This steals heat from the other rooms and pulls cold air into the home through cracks around windows and doors and other leaky places that cannot be completely sealed off."

Now, newer FPs may at least draw outside air for combustion, but if you're firing up the ol' hearth for its warmth, better you should sit on top of your chimbley (please).

Posted by Kaimuki
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 29, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Air Resources Board and its hangers on would be a good agency for the Governor to terminate and save a few bucks. These swine harass people on holidays when they have a chance to enjoy their homes and fireplaces. If we don't do something about sovietization of California we may regret it dearly some day when it will be too late. Of course there is no effect whatsoever on the air quality or public health if somene makes a fire in his own hearth.

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2009 at 12:31 pm

...perfect example, Kai. Thanks. Did you do that on purpose?

Posted by Clovis
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2009 at 12:43 pm

I tend to agree with Kaimuki. These bureaucrats continue to suck us dry while honest, hardworking people are losing their jobs and homes. It's ironic that those who've gone to work to create value and profits and otherwise improve our standard of living are suffering, while these "civil servants", who've gone to work so that they can retire early to collect obscene pensions (also paid for by those who are suffering) seem to do just fine.

A few years ago a friend of mine had a small manufacturing business in the east bay, and one day the Bay Area Air Quality Management District came to call. During the audit the inspector saw that my friend had installed an activated charcoal filter on one of the plant's exhausts. Even though the filter was not legally necessary, he was fined $50,000 for not having the filter validated. Business was already difficult, but this fine broke his back, so he closed, laying off 23 employees. Our tax dollars at work...

Posted by Nancy
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2009 at 1:18 pm

What will the SOCIALISTS tell us to do next? When to turn the lights off? No more Christmas lights? When we can brush our teeth? Spare the air days on Thanksgiving and Christmas? Give me a break. I think we all have brains and can think for ourselves without government and all their agencies telling us what to do.

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Did I say "...guys...?"

My mistake.

Posted by Greg
a resident of Blackhawk
on Dec 29, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Consider yourself white blood cells!

People have had asthma for years and years and people have been burning wood for years and years and nobody has died from a wood fire! Why have a no burn day on a holiday when there are HARDLY any cars on the road giving off all those killer fumes? It's a real JOKE.

The bigger JOKE is people out there looking for smoke on a holiday!


Posted by Clovis
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Greg, it's not much of a joke when you consider that these people are getting paid a handsome premium for working on a holiday when thay are out looking for smoke on Christmas.

Yup, the smart people work for the government. Real work in private industry is for suckers.

Posted by Feddup
a resident of another community
on Dec 29, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Yes sir, I'm cooking a prime rib in my fireplace.

No Sir, you can only come in if you have a search warrant.

Merry Christmas to you too sir.

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Yeah, Fedup, and you also remind the arresting officer that you pay his salary, right? ;-)

Posted by Feddup
a resident of another community
on Dec 29, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Geez Citizen, I wish I didn't have a sense of humor. I'd really like to be more perfect like you. I am an out of town police officer just commenting and making a joke on a board. Go back to your nightly weapons cleaning chores and lighten up a little.

Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Dec 29, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Greg, did you miss the point by Lee, above? His wife ended up in the hospital due to their neighbor's fire. Like it or not, it seems that maybe we should give up the momentary pleasure of a fireplace fire so that our neighbors can breathe. What's the big deal? It seems like a small sacrifice.

Posted by Dusty
a resident of another community
on Dec 29, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Diane, although Lee blames wood smoke from a neighbor's fireplace for his wife's asthma, it is just as likely that something else triggered the attack, such as dust, cockroach droppings, pet dander, the angora sweater she received as a gift, food additives, medicine, dust mites, being in close proximity with someone who uses fragrances too liberally, etc.

Please see the website

yours truly,

Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Dec 30, 2009 at 7:24 am

Point well taken Dusty. I am all too familiar with asthma as two of my siblings have asthma and growing up we had several trips to the emergency room. I understand the causes are varied from individual to individual, and that a fire is one cause which is why the ban exists. Who knows what triggered the attack for Lee's wife, but why be an unwitting contributor?

Posted by Jojo
a resident of Blackhawk
on Dec 30, 2009 at 8:52 am

I grew up with allergies so we no longer have a live tree. I also got a headache from burning wood in the fireplace so we burn duraflame. excessive dust seems to trigger it too so I have to keep a clean home. Notice the solutions in our own home because that has the most impact. If someone were to smoke a cigar near me I would move. The solution is within ourselves not pointing to a neighbor.

Posted by Kaimuki
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 30, 2009 at 10:21 am

Bay Area Air Quality Management District recorded 47 potential violations of the regional no-burn restriction, air district spokesman Ralph Borrmann said. --

Ralph Borrmann, eh? I wonder if he is related to Hitler's right hand man Martin Borrmann who disappeared in trying to escape from Hitler's bunker around April 16, 1945. An appropriately named person anyway helping to enforce Air Resources Board harassment of citizens on holiday.
I wonder where is ACLU which should protect us from these arbitrary laws which have no relevance to public interest and safety whatsoever.

Posted by Tom Cushing
a resident of Danville
on Dec 30, 2009 at 11:06 am

Kaimuki: ACLU usually focusses on Bill of Rights protections, esp. First Amendment issues (not that I think you were serious).

As much as you might believe from all this turgid vitriole that there MUST be a Right to Keep and Burn Fires expressed somewhere in the Constitution -- and egregiously torn asunder by jackbooted Enviros, I looked and can't find one. But maybe LP will start a grassroots constitutional amendment petition drive.

Too bad for you -- brilliant, effective bunch, those ACLUans.

Posted by Dawn
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 30, 2009 at 1:04 pm

"... turgid vitriole?"


Lighten up, everyone. Having a fireplace means having fires in it, especially during cold weather.

What's really entertaining is having had it pointed out that the air quality management district is compiling an 'enemies list' on which they are not planning to immediately act. Oh, no, they'll wait 'til they've got the REAL goods on ya... multiple violations. Ha!

Look, if you suffer adverse reactions to air pollutants, you should not live in an urban or suburban area. Of course, in CA, exurban areas are far more likely to be smothered in agricultural smoke waste, but still...

Posted by Greg
a resident of Danville
on Dec 30, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Diane.........hope you learned something from up before you make a stupid remark! BURN ON! I agree with FEDUP! Just because one person has a problem why should everyone else suffer? Take care of your own problems! My girlfriends son has asthma and a fire in the fireplace doesn't bother him! If it bothers you wear a mask, thats why they make them! I saw a kid with asthma have an attack while playing football, perhaps we should do away with football too!
Jojo knows whats goin on!!!!!!!

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Dec 30, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Wow, Diane -- you advise folks to lighten up, and then evoke the despicable Marie Antoinette? "Let those asthmatics breathe somebody else's air, or better yet, grow gills -- I've got my fire to enjoy, and I don' give a rat's patootie who it chokes." Pretty heavy stuff, n'est ce pas?

Well, we all know that Marie and her head were soon parted, and good riddance. You appear to be building up a pretty massive karmic debt yourself, there, Diantoinette.

And as for Greg -- you've got a girlfriend? Does she speak English?

Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Dec 30, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Yikes Citizen P - I think you are confusing me with Dawn (I promise, we are nothing alike). My head is attached and I'm hoping to keep it that way long term.

Greg - you are so predictable! I would not expect you to slow down in order to avoid hitting a pedestrian if it inconvenienced you, let alone take in consideration the well being of others if you felt like lighting a fire pretty much anywhere. I didn't learn anything from Dusty, though is his post is pretty accurate that asthmatics are sensitive to different toxins, so one may react to your fire while another might not.

As for me, I don't think I "suffer" by not burning a fire on a "no burn" day. Those that consider this suffering clearly live in their own private Idaho.

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Dec 30, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Ack!! You're right, Diane. My apologies.

It's "Dawntoinette."

Posted by Jasmine
a resident of Danville
on Dec 31, 2009 at 11:43 am

Happy New Year Diane! :o)

Posted by Bainter the Painter
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 31, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Happy New Year Jasmine. I like Jasmine because it smells good and makes me feel certain ways. But no one cares what the painter thinks. That's ok.

Posted by Rufous
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 31, 2009 at 4:13 pm

What say we round up all asthmatics and put them in a windowless warehouse during burn ban days so the rest of us can enjoy playing pictionary in front of a roaring fire. What will they do if, heaven forbid, a volcano erupts? Where is Darwin when we need him? (burning bans are only intended to take our minds off how much our cars pollute..the real solution is to encourage fires and ban cars)

Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Dec 31, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Jasmine! Hope your Christmas was lovely, and a happy 2010 to you as well!

Posted by spongebob
a resident of Danville
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:20 am

to all who decry the "socialization" of the US (and California) - ever wonder what those smart meters on your electricity feed in your side yard are all about? Now you get to have your entire body scanned when you go through security at the airport (because of a failure in "THEIR" system). Is that enjoyable?
You really need to take a close look at how the government continues to inject itself into your lifestyle in an attempt (oftentimes successful) to control it. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but am very concerned about my freedoms and the government's role in attempting to control them.

Posted by Thinkerbell
a resident of Danville
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:05 pm

I missed my Christmas day fire, as did my guests. Had to settle for the raging fireplace on KOFY cable tv. Passed out the Snugglies, and it was pretty funny we all looked to stupid..... haha

Posted by Jake
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 1, 2010 at 11:44 pm

People deserve the government that they have. We keep electing the same types and they keep passing the same types of laws and empower the bureaucrats to do their work. Over time there will be no more wood fire. All new homes are banned from having a woodburning fireplace. While common sense environmental concern are justified, they can and will be used to control how someone else thinks we should live our lives. It won't be long before the size of you home is controlled; you car already is. And of course we will have neighbors spy on each other.Welcome to the Soviet States of America.

Posted by cardfark
a resident of Diablo
on Jan 2, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Sounds more like a State of Hysterical Hyperbole.

Posted by Wheezy
a resident of another community
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Maybe, but now you've turned it into a State of Asinine Alliterative Assonance.

Posted by cardfark
a resident of Danville
on Jan 2, 2010 at 4:36 pm

By contrarian contrast, it co(u)nterpoints all that confounded, confused, conservative consternation.

Posted by Wheezy
a resident of another community
on Jan 2, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I shall eschew further commentary with the knuckleheaded nattering nabob, and instead partake of a bit of papaya punch as it's partly past it's prime. And, I will do so next to a fire fueled with well-seasoned almond that's presently roaring in my fireplace.

Posted by cardfark
a resident of Diablo
on Jan 2, 2010 at 5:03 pm

A convivial conflagration, I'd wager.

I fear you will be visited by the angry ghost of Spiro Agnew, however, seeking a bri -- err, royalty for his creative contribution to your commentary.

Posted by Greg
a resident of Danville
on Jan 5, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Citizen PAIN

.......yes I have a girlfriend and she does speak english. Best of all she makes sense, unlike you. Your way out there to say the least. At least I make sense even though you don't agree with me. We all think differently and its a good thing or this world would be a mess. Keep up with your stupid comments they are quite entertaining!

Posted by James
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jan 5, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Thanks Greg............I thought I was the only one that thought that the PAIN was really "out there".........perhaps its a mental condition!

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Jan 6, 2010 at 6:48 am

Aw fellas, "out there" is really just the 21st century. C'mon on out -- you have nothing to lose but your buggywhips!

Posted by paul
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

What a waste of effort, the state and district needs to get a life and maybe concentrate on trucks and buses

Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 10, 2010 at 5:17 am

I wanna save the environment and protect our health as much as anyone, but setting a no-fire ordinance on Christmas Day is fascist. It's like the government is trying everything they can to needle us on this day of western tradition that the traitors in government hate so much. And who was out acting as the gestapo that day, tracking down the violators? Probably not people who celebrate Christmas.

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