The Washington State Department of Ecology will continue Stage 1 burn ban in Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties. Smoke dispersion is expected to remain poor through the weekend, though temporary clearing is possible in some areas.
The burn ban, which began Tuesday, will continue until at least 4 p.m., Monday, Dec. 30. Under a Stage 1 ban, the use of uncertified wood-burning devices – including fireplaces, wood stoves and inserts – is prohibited unless they are a home’s only adequate source of heat.
Certified wood-burning devices and pellet stoves are allowed. Ecology recommends burning hot fires using only clean, dry wood. No excessive smoke is allowed from any wood-burning device beyond a 20-minute start-up.
All outdoor burning – including residential, agricultural and forest burning – is prohibited.
By limiting burning and following restrictions when burn bans are called, residents can help improve air quality sooner.
Burn ban violators are subject to civil penalties. You can report violators by calling Ecology’s smoke complaint hotline (1-866-211-6284). For burn ban updates, go online to www.waburnbans.net.
Smoke from outdoor burning and wood-burning devices builds up where cold air is trapped near the ground. Fine particles in smoke are so small they can easily get into your lungs. Once there, they can cause heart and breathing problems, and even death. Children, people with asthma and respiratory illnesses, and adults older than 65 are most at risk.
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 adults over age 65.
Ecology recommends that people limit vehicle trips, combine errands or use public transportation to reduce air pollution.