[January 13, 2012] Continuing cold weather and rising air pollution have prompted a Stage 2 burn ban in Pierce and Snohomish counties, effective at 11 a.m. today; a Stage 1 burn ban remains in effect for King and Kitsap counties, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. These bans are in effect until further notice.
High pressure remains over the region, with stagnant conditions that caused air quality to degrade significantly last night in parts of Pierce and Snohomish counties, triggering the need for a Stage 2 burn ban. Areas of King and Kitsap counties also experienced elevated air pollution, but not enough to warrant the more restrictive Stage 2 ban. Clean Air Agency forecasters expect little wind today and through this evening. Pollution levels will remain high today through this evening, especially in communities where residential wood burning is common. In these communities air quality is likely to 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:
It is OK to use natural gas and propane stoves or inserts during a Stage 2 burn ban.
During a Stage 1 burn ban:
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.
(Note: The Seattle Parks Department prohibits beach fires at Alki and Golden Gardens during air quality burn bans.)