Burn bans raised as air quality worsens in Puget Sound
SEATTLE — The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, citing the need to protect public health from worsening air pollution, elevated the burn ban for King and Snohomish counties Monday to Stage 2, which was already in effect for Pierce County.
The bans remain in effect until further notice, the PSCAA said.
On Sunday night, the agency said, fine particle pollution levels spiked in many areas throughout the Puget Sound region, especially in neighborhoods where wood burning is common.
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).
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 canceled. 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 agency said.