The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has lowered the burn ban for parts of Pierce County from Stage 2 to Stage 1.
The lower-level ban means that homeowners can use wood-burning fireplace inserts or wood stoves that are certified as complying with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emission standards.
Residents must still refrain from using wood-burning fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves and fireplace inserts, unless they have previously received approval based on having no other adequate source of heat.
Outdoor burning also remains prohibited for everyone, along with burning that produces visible smoke.
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The use of natural gas or propane stoves or inserts is still allowed.
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency calls burn bans during stagnant weather conditions, when concentrations of smoke and particulate matter can reach harmful levels. The Stage 1 burn ban means that rising local pollution levels could soon violate air quality standards, according to the agency’s predictions.
Burn ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.
The burn ban does not apply to the Gig Harbor and Key peninsulas and the Roy and Eatonville areas. To see more detail about which areas are excluded, go to the clean air agency’s website at www.pscleanair.org.
The Washington State Department of Health advises that people who are sensitive to air pollution should limit time spent outdoors, especially when exercising. Air pollution is especially harmful to people with lung and heart problems, people with diabetes, children and adults over 65.
To determine whether your wood stove or fireplace insert is certified, look for an EPA-certified label on the top, or check this list provided by the agency.