By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program
A Stage 1 burn ban in Okanogan County expires at 10 a.m. today (Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012) as scheduled.
During a Stage 1 ban, use of uncertified wood-burning devices (including wood stoves, inserts and fireplaces) and all outdoor burning are prohibited.
These activities may resume after the burn ban expires. However, Ecology urges people to think twice before burning because smoke from outdoor burning and wood-burning devices easily builds up at this time of year, when stagnant air conditions can trap smoke close to 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.
By limiting burning as much as possible, residents of affected areas can help prevent air quality from deteriorating to the point that burn bans are needed. And by following restrictions when burn bans are called, they can help limit the time period the bans are in effect.