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Stage 2 burn ban in effect in King County

Twenty-four hour fine particle pollution build-up on air quality filters (from left to right): 1) new filter; 2) good air quality; 3) air quality  deemed “unhealthy for sensitive groups” (i.e., burn ban conditions).   - COURTESY GRAPHIC, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
Twenty-four hour fine particle pollution build-up on air quality filters (from left to right): 1) new filter; 2) good air quality; 3) air quality deemed “unhealthy for sensitive groups” (i.e., burn ban conditions).
— image credit: COURTESY GRAPHIC, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency

To protect the public from unhealthy levels of air pollution, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency on Monday issued burn bans for King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

The “Stage 2” burn ban will remain in effect as long as air quality conditions remain poor. Until then, no burning is allowed in any wood-burning fireplaces, stoves or fireplace inserts. Use of pellet stoves and all outdoor burning is also prohibited.

Residents should instead temporarily rely on their home’s non-wood source of heat.

The bans are designed to reduce public exposure to harmful wood smoke pollution from indoor and outdoor burning. Wood smoke is a growing health concern nationally and increasing attention is paid to the health impacts from short- and long-term exposure to the fine particles and other pollutants it contains.

Recent studies have tied wood smoke exposure to health effects such as aggravated asthma, increased heart attacks, acute bronchitis and chronic lung disease.

Locally, high levels of wood smoke pollution violate the federal Clean Air Act in the greater Tacoma area. Within this area, known as the Tacoma-Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is implementing robust new enforcement and assistance programs recommended by the

community to clean up the air.

Fine particle pollution levels are monitored daily by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency at more than a dozen locations in four counties, including three sites inside the Smoke Reduction Zone. The sampler inhales approximately twice as much air as the average adult over the course of a 24-hour period.

Updated air quality information and current burn ban status are available through the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency at www.pscleanair.org or 800-552-3565.

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