Due to forecasted stagnant weather conditions and rising air pollution levels, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is issuing a Stage 1 burn ban for Pierce and Snohomish counties, effective at 5 p.m. today, Nov. 30.
This ban is in effect until further notice.
A large ridge of high pressure off the Pacific Coast is expected to bring cold evenings and poor ventilation to the Pacific Northwest for the next several days. Pollution levels are expected to rise throughout the Puget Sound region, but especially in Pierce and Snohomish communities where residential wood burning is common. Air pollution levels in these areas could reach "unhealthy for sensitive groups."
"Smoke from fireplaces and wood stoves is the single largest source of air pollution in our neighborhoods in the wintertime -- and this pollution can build up quickly when it's cold and not very windy," said Craig Kenworthy, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. "Breathing this smoke causes major medical problems in vulnerable groups like children and the elderly. Please help them by avoiding burning when our air quality is poor or deteriorating."
For burn ban FAQ's, visit www.pscleanair.org/airq/burnban/faqs.aspx.
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: www.pscleanair.org/images/epa_cert_wood_stove_sticker.gif.