Thursday, December 15, 2011

Burn bans still going in 7 Eastern WA counties

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program

Burn bans will continue until at least Tuesday (Dec. 20, 2011) in seven Eastern Washington counties due to stagnant air conditions, according to the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology).

Ecology’s Stage 1 burn bans for Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, Kittitas, and Walla Walla counties will continue until at least 10 a.m. Tuesday, when they could be called off or extended. The Stage 1 bans apply to unnecessary use of uncertified wood-burning devices (including wood stoves, inserts and fireplaces) and to all outdoor burning.

Ecology’s burn bans do not apply to tribal lands, where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has jurisdiction.

Smoke from outdoor burning and wood-burning devices 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.

Under a Stage 1 ban:
  • Use of uncertified wood-burning devices – including fireplaces, wood stoves and inserts – is prohibited unless they are a home’s only source of heat.

  • All outdoor burning – including residential, agricultural and forest burning – is prohibited.

  • Use of certified wood-burning devices and pellet stoves is allowed. Ecology recommends burning hot fires using only clean, dry wood.

  • No excessive smoke is allowed from any wood-burning device beyond a 20-minute start-up.

  • Burn ban violators are subject to civil penalties.

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