Stage 1 burn ban issued for King and other counties because of poor air quality
By STEVE HUNTER
Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter
January 11, 2012 · 11:47 AM
The use of wood-burning fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves is prohibited starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11 in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties because of worsening air quality.
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is issuing the Stage 1 burn ban until air quality improves, according to a a media release from the agency.
High pressure over the Puget Sound region will bring cold temperatures and calm winds, according to Clean Air Agency forecasters. Air quality is expected to deteriorate at least through Friday, especially in communities where residential wood burning is common.
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 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, an outdoor fireplace.
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).
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.
How can one tell if their wood stove is certified, and OK to use during a Stage 1 burn ban? Age matters – if the stove is more than 20 years old, it is likely uncertified and prohibited for use during a burn ban. Uncertified wood stoves are no longer legal to sell or purchase in the State of Washington due to the significant pollution they generate. A certified stove will have an EPA label on the back.
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is an air quality management agency serving King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Created as a result of the 1967 Washington Clean Air Act, the agency protects public health by adopting and enforcing air quality regulations, educating individuals and businesses about clean-air choices and sponsoring voluntary initiatives to improve air quality.Contact Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter Steve Hunter at email@example.com or 253-872-6600, ext. 5052.