A weather pattern that has trapped smoke from fire places above the Bay Area has prompted a Spare the Air alert for Monday.
The alert, announced Sunday afternoon by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, is the first since Dec. 5, and it prohibits the operation of wood-burning fire places and stoves and even chestnuts roasting by any open fires. Residents are allowed to burn wood for cooking meals, or if it serves as their only source of heat.
Conditions in the Bay Area are ripe for such an alert, with cold overnight temperatures and light winds allowing smoke to settle beneath a layer of warmer air, which acts like a lid keeping pollutants closer to ground level. Offshore winds, too, may allow air pollution from the Central Valley to drift into the Bay Area, further contributing to poor air quality, according to district officials.
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