Effective Thursday at noon, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency lifted a Stage 1 air quality burn ban in Pierce County because of improving weather conditions.
The ban, which lasted five days and also affected Snohomish County, started at 5 p.m. Dec. 29 because cold and dry weather was expected to cause air pollution to reach levels that are unhealthy for asthma sufferers and others with bronchial-related health issues, especially in communities where wood-burning is common.
Air Agency officials said Thursday that wind that was expected to pick up that evening would help disperse air pollution.
Burn ban enforcement has significantly increased in Pierce County. Wood burning during a ban may result in a fine as high as $1,000. Increased enforcement and night patrols will increase the likelihood of violators receiving substantial fines this season, officials said.
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 cancelled. 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.
The use of natural gas, propane, pellet and EPA-certified wood stoves or inserts is allowed.