Burn bans issued for King, Pierce, Snohomish counties

SEATTLE - A Stage 1 burn ban issued for Snohomish County has been elevated to Stage 2, and a Stage 1 burn ban has been issued for King County while it remains for Pierce County.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency says the point of the burn ban is to reduce unhealthy air that is usually created by excessive wood smoke.

For a Stage 1 burn ban, no burning is allowed in fireplaces, uncertified wood stoves, and outdoor fires are prohibited as well. Residents are asked to use cleaner sources of heat like a furnace or electric heater, and to refrain from building bonfires, campfires or using fire pits and chimineas. The use of natural gas, propane, pellet and EPA-certified wood stoves or inserts are okay.

A Stage 2 burn ban no burning is allowed in any fireplace, pellet stove or wood stove (certified or not), unless it is your only adequate source of heat. This includes recreational fires such as bonfires, campfires and the use of fire pits and chimineas. Basically, no visible smoke is allowed from any solid fuel burning device at any time.

Natural gas or propane fireplaces or stoves are okay.

"Calling a burn ban when it's this cold out is not something we want to do, or that we take lightly" commented Craig Kenworthy, Executive Director of the Clean Air Agency. "People in our region have already been exposed to high levels of fine particle pollution a number of times this year. We're asking people to use another source of heat for what we hope is a short time."

Burn ban fines can cost up to $1,000, and officials say an increased law enforcement and night patrol presence will be handing out substantial fines to violators.

The bans are in effect until further notice.