Due to stagnant weather conditions and rising air pollution, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is continuing their Stage 1 burn ban for Pierce County.
This ban is in effect until further notice. 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.
A high pressure system is expected to bring mostly calm conditions through Tuesday. We’ll see especially low wind speeds in Pierce County which means fog and a buildup of air pollution. A system should arrive late Tuesday, or early Wednesday to ventilate the region again.
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 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 chimines.
* Burn ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.
It is OK to use natural gas, propane, pellet and EPA-certified wood stoves or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.
Tacoma, and much of Pierce County, is one of only 32 areas in the country that doesn't meet federal health standards for air quality. Wood smoke plays a large part in this pollution problem in our region. In 2009, an area Smoke Reduction Zone was designated and new programs implemented to make the region healthier.