Topic: Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
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January 18, 2013 at 3:55 PM
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has issued a Stage 1 burn ban for King County. No wood-burning is allowed in fireplaces, uncertified wood stoves or outdoors until the ban is lifted.
A Stage 1 burn ban was also issued for Snohomish County earlier this week while Pierce County is under a Stage 2 burn ban, which also bans wood-burning in certified wood stoves.
The agency issued the burn bans because stagnant air and wood-burning fires have increased fine-particulate pollution in the air. Recent studies have tied wood-smoke exposure to health effects such as aggravated asthma, increased heart attacks, acute bronchitis, and chronic lung disease.
The agency does make exceptions for households that truly don’t have better sources of heat, though, said agency spokeswoman Melissa Paulson. To help low-income residents phase out wood-burning sources of heat, the agency hosts a buy-back program and drawings for a replacement-stove. Some low-income residents may also be eligible for a free heating replacement without entering the drawing.
Updated air quality information and burn-ban updates are available through the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency website or 800-552-3565.
January 17, 2013 at 3:33 PM
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency elevated a Stage 1 burn ban in Pierce County to a Stage 2 ban, which restricts all wood-burning in fireplaces, certified or uncertified wood stoves and outdoors.
A Stage 1 burn ban is still in effect in Snohomish County. That ban is similar except wood-burning is allowed in certified wood-burning stoves. A burn ban issued to King County earlier this week was lifted on Wednesday.
Stagnant air and an increase of wood-burning fires in the face of freezing temperatures have increased fine particulate pollution in the air and made the bans necessary, according to the agency.
January 16, 2013 at 6:56 PM
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency today lifted a burn ban issued earlier this week for King County.
However, a stage 1 burn ban is still in effect for Snohomish and Pierce counties.
During the ban, all wood-burning in indoor and outdoor fireplaces and in uncertified stoves is prohibited and subject to a fine of up to $1,000. Natural gas, propane, pellet and EPA-certified wood stoves are allowed.
“Pollution levels in Pierce and Snohomish counties remain moderate, and the forecast suggests they would worsen in the next few days without a burn ban,” said agency forecaster Phil Swartzendruber. “Looking ahead, calm, cold, and clear weather conditions will likely continue through the weekend, so ongoing cooperation with the burn ban will help keep our air healthy.”
January 14, 2013 at 5:15 PM
Declining air-quality conditions have prompted the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to issue a burn ban for King, Pierce and Snohomish counties until further notice.
Wood-burning won’t be allowed in fireplaces, stoves or outdoors until the Stage 2 burn ban is lifted.
As sunny and clear as the skies have looked for the past few days, wood-burning fires being used to fight freezing temperatures have dirtied the air with fine particle pollution, according to the agency. Recent studies have tied wood-smoke exposure to health effects such as aggravated asthma, increased heart attacks, acute bronchitis, and chronic lung disease.
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is especially concerned with the air quality in the Tacoma-Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone, where high levels of wood smoke pollution currently violate the federal Clean Air Act. Agency officials will be patrolling that area more heavily and issuing citations, said agency spokeswoman Melissa Paulson.
The agency does make exceptions for households that truly don’t have better sources of heat, though, she said. To help low-income residents phase out wood-burning sources of heat, the agency hosts a buy-back program and replacement-stove drawings. Some low-income residents may also be eligible for a free heating replacement without entering the drawing.
“We’re not trying to put anyone out in the cold here,” Paulson said. “The point of this is really not to collect revenue; it’s to have a conversation about changing behavior.”
Updated air quality information and burn ban updates are available through the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency website or 800-552-3565.
January 12, 2012 at 11:04 AM
The same dirty air that has brought the Seattle area especially vibrant sunrises and sunsets in recent days has also resulted in burn bans in four counties.
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issued a stage one burn ban Wednesday for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. It prohibits outdoor fires, as well as burning in fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves.
Air trapped in the area could stick around until Saturday or longer, and may reach levels dangerous for people suffering from asthma or other respiratory conditions or heart problems, said Kimberley Cline, the agency’s spokeswoman.
The tiny particles bypass the body’s normal defenses, she said.
The weather also brings with it colder nights, said Dennis D’Amico, a meteorologist with Seattle’s National Weather Service. That makes people more likely to light a fire at home, he said.
“If you’re just lighting a fire because you like it, this is a time to not do it,” D’Amico said. “In your fireplace, the smoke is not mixing, it’s not dissipating. It’s sticking around.”
The added soot in the air means the sun is refracting off of more particles in the lower atmosphere. That creates a prettier, more colorful show early and late in the day, he said.
While a windy Saturday could help lift the ban, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is looking at the situation daily, Cline said. She said she doesn’t expect the ban to last through the weekend.
Other agencies have put burn bans in place in Thurston, Mason, Clark, Kittitas and Yakima counties.
January 11, 2012 at 11:46 AM
A stage 1 burn ban has been issued for King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties, effective at 4 p.m. today, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
That means the use of fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves is prohibited until air quality improves.
Air quality is expected to deteriorate at least through Friday, especially in communities where residential wood burning is common.
According to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, during a Stage 1 burn ban:
- No burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves. Residents should rely instead on their home’s other, cleaner source of heat (such as their furnace or electric baseboard heaters) for a few days until air quality improves, the public health risk diminishes and the ban is canceled. The only exception is if a wood stove is a home’s only adequate source of heat.
- No outdoor fires are allowed. This includes recreational fires such as bonfires, campfires and the use of fire pits and chimineas.
- Burn ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.
It is OK to use natural gas, propane, pellet and EPA certified wood stoves or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.
November 30, 2011 at 5:17 PM
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issued a Stage 1 burn ban for Pierce and Snohomish counties on Wednesday, effective until air quality improves.
The temporary ban is a result of air pollution caused by stagnant air, the agency said in an announcement.
The ban prohibits all outdoor burning and the use of wood-burning fireplaces or uncertified fireplace inserts unless they are the only source of adequate heat. Burning must not generate visible smoke.
Pollution is expected to worsen throughout the Puget Sound area over the next few days, particularly in Pierce and Snohomish counties, where wood burning is more common, and pollution could reach levels unhealthy for sensitive people.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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