As more wildfire smoke appears, Stage 1 burn ban returns

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With more wildfire smoke from British Columbia moving into our region, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is issuing a Stage 1 air quality burn ban for King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties, effective at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8.

This ban is in effect until further notice and is in addition to existing fire safety burn bans.

With high pressure pushing more smoke into the Puget Sound area, the agency forecasts air that is unhealthy for sensitive groups through Friday.

“We expect calm winds and smoke to settle daily,” the agency said. “Saturday and onward, the area of high pressure should push eastward, bringing us back our more typical and cleaner air from the Pacific Ocean.”

The purpose of the burn ban is to reduce any additional harm to sensitive populations from excess air pollution and is in addition to existing fire safety burn bans, the agency said.

Children, pregnant women, older adults, and those with heart and breathing problems should avoid physical exertion outdoors. If possible, seek clean, air-conditioned indoor air (for example, public libraries, “cooling centers,” community and senior centers.

No burning during a Stage 1 air quality burn ban means:

· No charcoal barbeques or similar solid fuel devices
· No fire pits, chimineas, fire bowls, or similar free-standing devices
· No campfires or bonfires
· No fireplaces, uncertified wood stoves, or uncertified inserts. The only exception is if the homeowner has a previously approved “No Other Adequate Source of Heat” exemption from the Clean Air Agency
· No agricultural fires
· Local fire districts do not grant Native American ceremonial fire permits outside of tribal lands during air quality burn bans.

It is OK to use natural gas and propane grills, stoves, or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.

The Washington State Department of Health recommends that people who are sensitive to air pollution limit time spent outdoors, especially when exercising. Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing, and make lung and heart problems worse. Air pollution is especially harmful to people with lung and heart problems, people with diabetes, children, and older adults (over age 65).

Visit pscleanair.org/burnban to view the current burn ban status.

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