Stage 1 burn ban declared in three counties

YAKIMA – The state Department of Ecology has declared a Stage 1 burn ban in Okanogan, Douglas and Chelan County, meaning poor dispersion of smoke is expected to degrade air quality over the next few days.

Ecology’s Stage 1 burn ban for the three counties will continue until at least Friday, when it could be called off or extended. The ban applies to the use of uncertified wood-burning devices (including wood stoves, inserts and fireplaces). It also applies to all outdoor burning, including residential, agricultural and forest burning.

Under the Stage 1 ban the use of uncertified wood-burning devices 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.

By limiting burning and following restrictions when burn bans are called, residents can help improve air quality sooner.

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.

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.

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