Stagnant air prompts burn ban in county, region

EVERETT — The lack of rain has allowed for some beautiful sunrises and sunsets during this current stretch of cold, clear weather.

Now, however, rising air pollution has prompted region-wide burn bans.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency on Sunday issued a stage-1 burn ban for Snohomish and King counties. A stricter, stage-2 burn ban remains in effect for Pierce County.

Pollution levels spiked in many areas throughout the Western Washington region during the weekend, especially in neighborhoods where wood-burning is common.

So, in Snohomish County, no burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves or uncertified fireplace inserts. People should use their furnace or electric baseboard heaters for a few days until air quality improves, the public health risk diminishes and the ban is canceled, agency officials said.

The only exception is if a wood stove is a home’s only adequate source of heat.

No outdoor fires are allowed, including recreational bonfires, campfires or fires in pits and chimineas.

People who violate burn bans could face a $1,000 penalty.

The 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.

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