Burn ban called for Pierce County

Tacoma News TribuneDecember 7, 2013 

Air quality officials have declared a Stage 1 burn ban in Pierce County, effective at 2 p.m. today.

That means the use of fireplaces and uncertified woodstoves is prohibited until air quality improves.

Cold weather and stagnant air have created conditions ideal for fine particle pollution as more people fire up their wood-burning heaters officials at the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency say.

“Calling a burn ban when it’s this cold out is not something we want to do, or that we take lightly” said Craig Kenworthy, the agency’s director.

“People in our region have already been exposed to high levels of fine particle pollution a number of times this year. We’re asking people to use another source of heat for what we hope is a short time.”

The purpose of a burn ban is to reduce the amount of pollution that’s creating unhealthy air, Kenworthy said.

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 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 cancelled. 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.
  • Burn ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.

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