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San Francisco extends wood burning ban to Christmas Day

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AP

Citizens of San Francisco won't get to enjoy a cheery fire Christmas Day after Bay Area officials extended a burning ban originally issued Christmas Eve. 

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced late Tuesday that Wednesday would be a "Winter Spare the Air" day, meaning the residents are forbidden to burn wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel indoors or outside. 

According to KTVU, air quality officials said pollution was expected to hit unhealthy levels amid a high-pressure system. The Bay Area has not seen any rain recently, and the forecast for the middle of this week calls for dry, mild weather and light winds. Children, the elderly, and people with respiratory conditions are particularly vulnerable to health issues under those conditions, officials say.

"We want everyone to enjoy their holiday this week, but unfortunately, weather conditions are causing unhealthy, muddy air again," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air quality district, according to KTVU. 

He said it is "imperative" that people follow the rules. 

It might seem unusual in some parts of the country, but for Bay Area residents, it is illegal to burn wood during these alerts -- which last 24 hours at a time. The only exemption is homes where fireplaces or stoves are the only heat source. 

According to KTVU, those who violate the burning ban the first time must either pay a $100 ticket, or take a "wood smoke awareness class." Subsequent violations would result in fines of $500 or more.

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