Burn bans expired today (Friday, Jan. 7, 2011) in several Eastern Washington counties because air quality is expected to improve there.
Ecology’s Stage 2 burn ban for Kittitas County and Stage 1 bans in Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan, and Asotin counties ended at 10 a.m. A cold front is expected to move into Eastern Washington today and help clear out stagnant air that has been trapping air pollution in those areas.
Smoke from outdoor burning and wood-burning devices (such as wood stoves and fireplaces) builds up where cold air is trapped near the ground. Fine particles in smoke are so small they can easily get into your lungs. Once there, they can cause heart and breathing problems, and even death. Children, people with asthma and respiratory illnesses, and adults older than 65 are most at risk.
The Washington State Department of Health recommends that people who are sensitive to air pollution should limit the time they spend outdoors. Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing, and make lung and heart problems worse.
Ecology recommends that people limit vehicle trips, combine errands or use public transportation to reduce air pollution.
Here are some helpful links:
- An Ecology analysis estimates that fine particles contribute to about 1,100 deaths and $190 million in health-care costs each year in Washington.
- For updates on burn bans, check local media reports, call Ecology’s daily burn decision hotline (1-800-406-5322) or check online.
- Track air quality in your area by using the Washington Air Quality Advisory (WAQA).
- This focus sheet explains how WAQA works.
- See a list of certified wood stoves and clean burning tips.