Burn ban lifted for King, Snohomish counties, continues in greater Pierce counties

Ban due to sustained stagnant weather conditions and rising air pollution.

  • Monday, December 11, 2017 12:55pm
  • News

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has lifted the burn ban for King and Snohomish counties, effective at 2 p.m. today. The Stage 1 Burn Ban for greater Pierce County continues.

This ban is in effect until further notice.

With fog lifting across the region, the sun is warming the ground and breaking the high pressure system over the region, helping improve air quality in many areas, according to an agency press release. The agency expects more winds in the north part of Puget Sound tonight, specifically in King and Snohomish counties, that will help keep air pollution below the health standards.

However, with calm weather expected to continue in greater Pierce County, the agency expects to have pollution levels unhealthy for sensitive groups tonight and into tomorrow and possibly longer. Sunday night, pollution levels went over the EPA health-based standard in Tacoma.

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 agency will continue to closely monitor the situation.

During a Stage 1 burn ban:

  • No burning is allowed in wood-burning fireplaces, uncertified wood stoves or fireplace inserts. 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 the homeowner has a previously approved ‘No Other Adequate Source of Heat’ exemption from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
  • 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 ok to use natural gas and propane stoves or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.

According to the release, 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 (older than 65).

Visit pscleanair.org/burnban to view the current burn ban status.

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