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Stage 1 burn ban called for Snohomish and Pierce counties
SEATTLE — The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency sussed a Stage 1 burn ban Dec. 29 for Pierce and Snohomish counties. This ban remains in effect until further notice.
After a few lingering showers today, weather conditions are expected to become cold and dry. Air pollution is expected to build up to levels unhealthy for sensitive groups, especially in communities where wood-burning is common. These cold and stagnant conditions could persist into next week, when a weak system forecast to arrive and disperse pollution.
The purpose of a burn ban is to reduce the amount of pollution that is creating unhealthy air usually due to excessive wood smoke. The Clean Air Agency will continue to closely monitor the situation.
Burn ban enforcement has significantly increased in the Tacoma-Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone. Wood burning during a ban may result in a fine, with fines in the past reaching $1,000. Increased enforcement and night patrols will increase the likelihood of violators receiving substantial fines this season.
During a Stage 1 burn ban:
- No burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves. Residents should rely instead on their home's other, cleaner source of heat (such as their furnace or electric baseboard heaters) for a few days until air quality improves, the public health risk diminishes and the ban is cancelled. The only exception is if a wood stove is a home's only adequate source of heat.
- No outdoor fires are allowed. This includes recreational fires such as bonfires, campfires and the use of fire pits and chimineas.
- Burn ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.
It is okay to use natural gas, propane, pellet and EPA-certified wood stoves or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.
The Washington State Department of Health recommends that people who are sensitive to air pollution limit time spent outdoors, especially when exercising. Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing, and make lung and heart problems worse. Air pollution is especially harmful to people with lung and heart problems, people with diabetes, children, and older adults (over age 65).