Stagnant air prompts burn ban in Snohomish County

The first burn ban of the season is in place for Snohomish County. And there’s a new way people in the Puget Sound area can get information on when wood-burning fires are allowed.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issued a Stage 1 burn ban Friday evening. It will continue until air quality improves.

The ban was issued due to rising air pollution levels. The recent cold weather, clear skies and low wind caused smoke from wood fires to remain in the air, said Joanne Todd, a spokeswoman for the agency.

“That brings pollution levels to unhealthy levels,” she said.

The agency will continue to monitor air quality. Burn bans typically last one to 10 days, Todd said.

There’s a new smartphone app called “Burn Ban 411” that people can download for free. It gives up-to-date information on burn bans. People can also check the burn ban status online at or call the hotline at 800-552-3565.

“Keep an eye open and check before you burn,” Todd said.

During a Stage 1 ban, no burning is allowed in wood-burning fireplaces, uncertified wood stoves or fireplace inserts. Outdoor fires, including those at campsites, are also prohibited.

“Those put out a phenomenal amount of pollution,” Todd said.

Instead, people should rely on cleaner heating sources, such as furnaces or baseboard heaters, until air quality improves. The only exception to the ban is if a homeowner has been approved by the agency to burn because there is no other adequate source of heat in the house. The use of natural gas and propane is allowed under the ban.

The burn ban was put in place to reduce the amount of pollution that is creating unhealthy air, often due to excessive wood smoke. It contains toxins and particles that can be harmful when people breathe them in, Todd said.

“They’re similar to the toxins in cigarette smoke,” she said. “There’s a lot of things that are natural that aren’t really good for you.”

The state Department of Health recommends that people who are sensitive to air pollution limit the time they spend outdoors, particularly when exercising. Air pollution can trigger difficulty breathing and asthma attacks or worsen lung and heart problems. It is especially harmful to people with those problems or diabetes. It can also affect children and adults who are older than 65.

Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; Twitter: @AmyNileReports.

Talk to us

More in Local News

An example of the Malicious Women Co. products (left) vs. the Malicious Mermaid's products (right). (U.S. District Court in Florida)
Judge: Cheeky candle copycat must pay Snohomish company over $800K

The owner of the Malicious Women Co. doesn’t expect to receive any money from the Malicious Mermaid, a Florida-based copycat.

A grave marker for Blaze the horse. (Photo provided)
After Darrington woman’s horse died, she didn’t know what to do

Sidney Montooth boarded her horse Blaze. When he died, she was “a wreck” — and at a loss as to what to do with his remains.

A fatal accident the afternoon of Dec. 18 near Clinton ended with one of the cars involved bursting into flames. The driver of the fully engulfed car was outside of the vehicle by the time first responders arrived at the scene. (Whidbey News-Times/Submitted photo)
Driver sentenced in 2021 crash that killed Everett couple

Danielle Cruz, formerly of Lynnwood, gets 17½ years in prison. She was impaired by drugs when she caused the crash that killed Sharon Gamble and Kenneth Weikle.

A person walks out of the Everett Clinic on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Everett Clinic changing name to parent company Optum in 2024

The parent company says the name change will not affect quality of care for patients in Snohomish County.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
Lynnwood settles for $1.7 million after 2021 suicide at city jail

Jail staff reportedly committed 16 safety check violations before they found Tirhas Tesfatsion, 47, unresponsive in her cell.

A person walks in the rain at the Port of Everett in Everett, Washington on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
First heavy rain event predicted Sunday night for Snohomish County

Starting Sunday evening, 1 to 1½ inches of rain is expected in western Washington. It marks the end of fire season, meteorologists said.

Clinton man, 61, dies in motorcycle crash Friday

Washington State Patrol lists speed as the cause. No other people or vehicles were involved.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Separate road rage incident ends with fatal shooting in Lake Stevens

A man, 41, died at the scene in the 15300 block of 84th Street NE. No arrests have been made.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and law enforcement partners advise the public of of colorful fentanyl.  (Photo provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration)
After rainbow fentanyl pills found in Tulalip, police sound alarms

Investigators are concerned the pastel-colored pills may end up in the hands of children.

Most Read