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Winter Spare the Air Alert Ordered For Saturday

The order came just hours after Gov. Brown declared a drought emergency in California

By David Mills 

If you're going to have a fire in your fireplace, do it tonight.

Winter Spare the Air alert has been issued for Saturday.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District made the announcement at midday Friday, saying a strengthening high pressure system is trapping pollutants close the ground.

The order came just hours after Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency in California.

This is the 28th air quality alert in the Bay Area so far this winter season. Only 10 alerts were issued during the entire winter season last year.

It's the first wood burning ban since Jan. 4.

The Saturday alert prohibits Bay Area residents from burning wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel both indoors and outdoors for 24 hours.

First-time violators of the ban are given the option of taking a wood smoke awareness class or paying a $100 fine. Second violations result in a $500 fine and the penalties rise with each violation after that.

The air quality district has 60 inspectors that follow up on complaints and issue citations.

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