Burn ban ordered for Pierce County

Due to stagnant weather and rising air pollution, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issued a Stage 1 burn ban for Pierce County, effective at noon Saturday. A Stage 1 ban is also in effect in Snohomish County.

The purpose of a burn ban is to reduce the amount of pollution that is creating unhealthful air — often due to excessive wood smoke — according to the Clean Air Agency.

During a Stage 1 burn ban, no burning is allowed in wood-burning fireplaces, uncertified wood stoves or fireplace inserts. 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 canceled.

The only exception is if the homeowner has a previously approved “no other adequate source of heat” designation from the Clean Air Agency.

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.

The Washington state Department of Health recommends that people who are sensitive to air pollution limit time spent outdoors, especially when exercising.

Air pollution has been shown to trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing, and make lung and heart problems worse. Air pollution is especially harmful to people with lung and heart problems, people with diabetes, children and older adults.