Stage 1 burn ban issued for Pierce, Snohomish County

SEATTLE - A Stage 1 burn ban has been issued for Pierce and Snohomish Counties Saturday.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency says the point of the burn ban is to reduce unhealthy air that is usually created by excessive wood smoke.

"Calling a burn ban when it's this cold out is not something we want to do, or that we take lightly" commented Craig Kenworthy, Executive Director of the Clean Air Agency. "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."

No burning is allowed in fireplaces, uncertified wood stoves, and outdoor fires are prohibited as well. Residents are asked to use cleaner sources of heat like a furnace or electric heater, and to refrain from building bonfires, campfires or using fire pits and chimineas.

The use of natural gas, propane, pellet and EPA-certified wood stoves or inserts are okay.

Burn ban fines can cost up to $1,000, and officials say an increased law enforcement and night patrol presence will be handing out substantial fines to violators.