The burn ban has been lifted in King and Snohomish Counties effective 1 p.m. on January 21st. A stage one burn ban is still in effect in Pierce County due to stagnant weather conditions.
"We are lifting the burn bans in King and Snohomish counties because winds are picking up and temperatures are warming," said Dr. Phil Swartzendruber, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency forecaster. "But Pierce County is still under the influence of cold and calm conditions, which could cause pollution to build up in areas where wood-burning is common. We need to keep a Stage 1 burn ban in effect to protect air quality in those communities.
"We encourage everyone who doesn't rely on wood heat to use instead their home's cleaner source of heat until weather conditions change."
Burn ban enforcement has significantly increased in the Tacoma-Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone. Wood burning during a ban may result in a fine, which have reached $1,000 in the past. An emphasis on 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.
- 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.
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).