Burn bans ordered as stagnant air lingers

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Sunset 9/21/2012 from Titlow Beach in Tacoma taken by Haesun Kim.

OLYMPIA — Several Western Washington counties issues Stage 1 and 2 burn bans as stagnant weather conditions and rising air pollution worsened as a stretch of clear, cold days continues.

Pierce County, Thurtson County, Snohomish County and several Indian Reservations issued burn bans on Sunday and Monday. The burn bans were in effect until further notice.

Pierce and Snohomish Counties were under Stage 2 burn bans, meaning the use of fireplaces and wood stoves was prohibited until air quality improved.

During a Stage 2 burn ban:

  • No burning is allowed in any wood-burning fireplaces, certified or uncertified wood stoves or fireplace inserts. 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 the homeowner has a previously approved ‘No Other Adequate Source of Heat’ designation from the Clean Air Agency
  • 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 other stoves during a Stage 2 burn ban

In Thurston County, a Stage 1 burn ban prohibits all outdoor burning, and no smoke is allowed from indoor burning beyond a 20-minute start-up period.

These Indian Reservations currently have a burn ban in place:

  • Stillaguamish Reservation
  • Muckleshoot Reservation
  • Nisqually Reservation
  • Chehalis Reservation
  • Tulalip Reservation
  • Puyallup Reservation

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.


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