Burn ban issued for county

January 19, 2009

By Staff

NEW — 1:10 p.m. Jan. 19, 2008

With increased air pollution and stagnant weather due to little or no wind, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issued a Stage 2 burn ban Monday for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

During a Stage 2 burn ban, burning is not allowed in fireplaces, wood stoves, fireplace inserts or pellet stoves unless these are the only source of adequate heat for the household (homes that cannot maintain 70 degrees at a point three feet above the floor). In addition, all outdoor burning is prohibited.

The ban is expected to last until Thursday. Penalties for a violation of a burn ban start at $1,000.

Smoke from burning wood and wood-based products contains fine particles, which can bypass the immune system when inhaled.

Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing, and make lung and heart problems worse. The Clean Air Agency suggests that people who are sensitive to air pollution limit time spent outside.

This is the first burn ban the Clean Air Agency has issued since 2006, when the trigger level for a burn ban was lowered to align with the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard.

Increased air pollution levels in the Puget Sound region are often caused by temperature inversions, which occur when temperatures rise drastically. The warm air traps the colder air beneath it and without incoming wind, air pollutants are not cleared out.

Ordinarily, the jet stream from the Pacific Ocean provides the region with a steady supply of fresh air, but the mountain ranges to the east and west can trap cooler air during temperature inversions.

Learn more and get updates on burn bans and air quality on the Clean Air Agency’s Web site.

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