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Pierce County Burn Ban moves to Stage 2
Continuing cold weather and rising air pollution have prompted a Stage 2 burn ban in Pierce County, effective Dec. 13, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. These bans are in effect until further notice.
Air quality degraded last night in parts of Pierce County, triggering the need for a Stage 2 burn ban. Areas of Snohomish County also experienced elevated air pollution, but not enough to warrant the more restrictive Stage 2 ban. Clean Air Agency forecasters expect little wind this evening, which will cause air quality to again deteriorate throughout the region, especially in communities where residential wood burning is common. In these communities air quality could 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.
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.