A Stage 1 burn ban remains in effect for Pierce County, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
A high pressure system has created cold, dry and stagnant weather conditions. As a result, air pollution is expected to build up and could reach levels unhealthy for sensitive groups, especially in communities where wood-burning is common. These cold and stagnant conditions should improve by Thursday as rain moves into the region.
The purpose of a burn ban is to reduce the amount of pollution that is creating unhealthy air usually due to excessive wood smoke. The Clean Air Agency will continue to closely monitor the situation.
Burn ban enforcement has significantly increased in the Tacoma-Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone. Wood burning during a ban may result in a fine, with fines in the past reaching $1,000. Increased enforcement and night patrols will increase the likelihood of violators receiving substantial fines this season.
During a Stage 1 burn ban, no burning is allowed in fireplaces or un-certified 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.