News

Burn ban elevated to Stage 2 in Pierce, Snohomish Counties; Stage 1 burn ban continues for King, Kitsap Counties

High pressure remains over the region, with stagnant conditions that caused air quality to degrade significantly Thursday night in parts of Pierce and Snohomish counties, triggering the need for a Stage 2 burn ban.

Areas of King and Kitsap counties also experienced elevated air pollution, but not enough to warrant the more restrictive Stage 2 ban.

Clean Air Agency forecasters expect little wind today and through this evening. Pollution levels will remain high today through this evening, especially in communities where residential wood burning is common. In these communities air quality is likely to reach levels considered "unhealthy for sensitive groups."

Clean Air Agency staff follow a protocol set by state law to determine when and where to issue a burn ban, and when to lift a burn ban.

During a Stage 2 burn ban:

• No burning is allowed in ANY wood-burning fireplaces, wood stoves or fireplace inserts (certified or uncertified) or pellet 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 OK to use natural gas and propane stoves or inserts during a Stage 2 burn ban.

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 OK 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).

The purpose of a burn ban is to reduce the amount of pollution that is creating unhealthy air. Puget Sound Clean Air Agency staff will continue to monitor the situation.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Aug 29 edition online now. Browse the archives.