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Burning wood may compromise air quality

Blizzarding skies might make most homeowners want to break out the firewood, but many people may not be aware that a cheerful fire could actually damage the air quality of their homes.

Air quality officials in the San Francisco Bay Area called for residents to hold off on building fires over Christmas weekend to pre-emptively prevent issuing an air quality alert. Officials declare the alert when smoke is trapped close to the ground, creating air that is harmful to breathe, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

"This is the time of year when many residents choose to burn wood in their fireplaces, but this creates unhealthy air both inside and outside the home," said Bay Area air quality officer Jack Broadbent.

According to the news source, wood smoke can impair lung function and worsen existing asthma and respiratory conditions.

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