The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency on Saturday issued a Stage 1 burn ban for Pierce and Snohomish Counties. This ban remains in effect until further notice.
“Calling a burn ban when it’s this cold out is not something we want to do, or that we take lightly” commented Craig Kenworthy, Executive Director of the Clean Air Agency. “People in our region have already been exposed to high levels of fine particle pollution a number of times this year. We’re asking people to use another source of heat for what we hope is a short time.”
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 OK to use natural gas, propane, pellet and EPA-certified wood stoves or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.