The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is lowering the air quality burn ban to a Stage 1 in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties effective at 1 p.m. on January 15. The ban remains in effect until further notice.
"Air pollution levels throughout the region have dropped, likely due to clouds and warmer temperatures," said Dr. Phil Swartzendruber, agency forecaster. "The drop in pollution could also be due to the help of our communities following the burn ban."
Dr. Swartzendruber added, "Calm, cold, and clear weather conditions are likely to continue over the next few days, so ongoing cooperation with the burn ban will help keep our air healthy."
The Clean Air Agency will continue to closely monitor the air quality and weather situation.
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.
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.
To protect the public from unhealthy levels of air pollution, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency on Monday, Jan. 14 had issued Stage 2 burn bans for King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.
The bans are designed to reduce public exposure to harmful wood smoke pollution from indoor and outdoor burning. Wood smoke is a growing health concern nationally and increasing attention is paid to the health impacts from short- and long-term exposure to the fine particles and other pollutants it contains.
Recent studies have tied wood smoke exposure to health effects such as aggravated asthma, increased heart attacks, acute bronchitis and chronic lung disease.
Locally, high levels of wood smoke pollution violate the federal Clean Air Act in the greater Tacoma area. Within this area, known as the Tacoma-Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is implementing robust new enforcement and assistance programs recommended by the community to clean up the air.
Fine particle pollution levels are monitored daily by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency at more than a dozen locations in four counties, including three sites inside the Smoke Reduction Zone. The sampler inhales approximately twice as much air as the average adult over the course of a 24-hour period.
Updated air quality information and current burn ban status are available through the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency at www.pscleanair.org or 800-552-3565.