Due to cold, stagnant weather conditions and rising air pollution, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issued a burn ban for Pierce County beginning last Saturday afternoon and continuing until further notice.
Agency officials said the Stage 1 ban, which became effective at 1 p.m. Saturday, was ordered in an attempt to reduce the amount of air pollution that is creating unhealthy air, usually due to excessive wood smoke.
Air pollution is especially harmful to people with lung and heart problems, people with diabetes, children, and older adults over age 65, according to health officials.
Pierce County in particular could see levels of air pollution reach the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” level, especially in areas where wood-burning is common, a Clean Air Agency spokesman 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.