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By Staff 

Burn ban limits indoor, outdoor burning


January 2, 2013

A Stage 1 burn ban is in effect for Snohomish County until further notice.

The use of fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves is prohibited until air quality improves. Outdoor burning is also restricted.

A high-pressure system is creating cold, dry and stagnant weather conditions, causing air pollution to build up and possibly reach levels unhealthy for sensitive groups, especially in communities where wood-burning is common.

These cold and stagnant conditions could persist into the week.

The purpose of a burn ban is to reduce the amount of pollution creating unhealthy air, usually due to excessive wood smoke. The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency will continue to closely monitor the situation.

Wood burning during a ban may result in a fine, with fines in the past reaching $1,000. Increased 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 sources of heat (such as their furnace or electric baseboard heaters) 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.

*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 adults over the age of 65.


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