Clean air agency: Burn ban declared in Pierce County

TACOMA, Wash. - A burn ban has been put into effect in Pierce County until weather improves, says the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

The Stage 1 ban, which prohibits the use of fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves, took effect at 1 p.m. Sunday and will remain in effect until further notice.

The purpose of the burn ban is to reduce the amount of pollution that is creating unhealthy air usually due to excessive wood smoke, the Clean Air Agency says.

A high pressure weather system is expected to bring mostly calm conditions Sunday through Tuesday, which means fog and a buildup of air pollution in Pierce County.

A more active weather system is expected to arrive late Tuesday or early Wednesday to clear the air again.

Wood burning during a ban may result in a fine as high as $1,000. Increased enforcement and night patrols will increase the likelihood of violators receiving substantial fines this season, the Clean Air Agency says.

During a Stage 1 burn ban:

• No burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves. 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.

• It is OK to use natural gas, propane, pellet and EPA-certified wood stoves or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.

The Washington State Department of Health recommends that people who are sensitive to air pollution limit time spent outdoors, especially when exercising. Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing, and make lung and heart problems worse.