Concerned about rising pollution levels caused by stagnant weather conditions, officials imposed a “stage 1” burn ban in King County, and elevated existing bans in Pierce and Snohomish counties to stage 2, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
In King County, the ban means that until air quality improves, residents cannot burn wood outside, or use their wood-burning fireplaces, fireplace inserts or uncertified wood stoves. The only exception is for people who have a designation from the agency certifying there is “no other adequate source of heat.”
In Pierce and Snohomish counties, the restrictions are the same as those affecting King County, but also include certified wood stoves. People who violate the ban risk a $1,000 fine. The agency noted that residents in those areas can still use their natural-gas and propane stoves.
The bans took effect at noon Thursday and will be in effect until further notice. The agency, in a news release, said air-pollution levels increased Wednesday night in Pierce and Snohomish counties, and showed “widespread increases” in King County.
With continued cold temperatures and calm winds expected through Friday, pollution levels could continue to reach unhealthy levels.