Pierce County's air quality has improved this weekend thanks to our colder temperatures and as a result, the air quality burn ban in Pierce County has been lowered to a Stage 1.
According to a statement by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency the ban was effective as of noon on Saturday and are in effect until further notice. Existing Stage 1 burn bans continue for King and Snohomish counties.
Dr. Phil Swartzendruber, the agency forecaster, says that overnight wind gusts helped out.
"Unexpected winds last night helped clear out some of the pollution that has been building up during this air stagnation, which is why we're downgrading the Pierce County burn ban to Stage 1," Swartzendruber said. "We encourage everyone who doesn't rely on wood heat to use instead their home's cleaner source of heat until weather conditions change."
Clean Air Agency staff follow a protocol set by Washington state law to determine when and where to issue a burn ban as well as when to lift a ban.
During a Stage 1 burn ban:
• No burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves. Residents should rely instead on their homes 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 canceled.
• No outdoor fires are allowed. This includes recreational fires such as bonfires, campfires and the use of fire pits and chimneys.
• Burn ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.
The agency states it is OK to use natural gas, propane, pellet and EPA certified wood stoves or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.
For more information visit: www.pscleanair.org.