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Burn Bans: Stage 1: King & Kitsap Counties; Stage 2: Pierce & Snohomish Counties

January 1, 2011

Message from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency

Stage 1 burn ban called for King and Kitsap Counties, Stage 2 burn ban called for Pierce and Snohomish Counties

Please rely on your home's cleaner source of heat until air quality returns to healthy levels.

[January 1, 2011] ? Air pollution levels continue to rise and stagnant weather conditions are forecasted to cotinue into the week. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is issuing a Stage 1 burn ban for King and Kitsap Counties, and upgrading Pierce and Snohomish Counties to a Stage 2 burn ban, effective at 2:00 p.m. today, January 1, 2010. These bans are in effect until further notice.

"Somewhere out there is an asthmatic child or someone with lung or heart disease who wants to get out and enjoy this holiday weekend just like the rest of us. We are calling this burn ban to protect their health and the health of everyone in the community, because everyone has the right to breathe clean air," says Craig Kenworthy, executive director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

The Washington State Department of Health recommends that people who are sensitive to air pollution limit time spent outdoors. Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing, and make lung and heart problems worse. Air pollution is especially harmful to children, people with heart and lung problems, and adults over age 65.

A ridge of high pressure in the eastern Pacific is expected to bring cold evenings and poor ventilation to the Pacific Northwest for the next several days and possibly through the end of the week. This will likely result in Moderate air quality through the Sound, and regions with high prevalence of wood burning will likely see UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, and UNHEALTHY air quality.

During any burn ban:

? No outdoor fires are allowed. This includes recreational fires such as bonfires, campfires and the use of fire pits and chimineas; even in areas where otherwise permitted by law.

During a Stage 1 burn ban:

? No burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves or inserts, unless this is your only adequate source of heat. 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.

? No visible smoke is allowed from any wood stove or fireplace, certified or not, beyond a 20-minute start-up period ? and even if it is the only adequate source of heat.

? 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.

During 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.

? No visible smoke is allowed from any solid fuel burning device at any time.

? Burn ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.

? It is OK to use natural gas or propane fireplaces.

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency staff will continue to monitor the situation. You can check conditions and forecasts at www.pscleanair.org/airq/aqi.aspx# The purpose of a burn ban is to reduce the amount of pollution that is creating unhealthy air. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency wants to remind people who burn wood, whether occasionally or often, that it is important to always check burn ban status before lighting a fire and to obey burn bans.

Again, please rely on your home's cleaner source of heat until air quality returns to healthy levels. A list of frequently asked questions and answers about burn bans is available on the Clean Air Agency's web site at www.pscleanair.org/airq/burnban/faqs.aspx . For additional information, visit www.pscleanair.org.

If you live in certain areas of Tacoma and unincorporated Pierce County, this is a great time to take advantage of the Wood Smoke Reduction Program which offers $5,500 - $8,000 to help people replace their old, polluting wood stove by upgrading to energy-efficient heating devices and weatherizing their homes. The program is currently limited to residents who live in seven ZIP codes in part of Tacoma and surrounding unincorporated Pierce County communities. These are 98404, 98408, 98409, 98444, 98445, 98446 and 98373 outside the City of Puyallup. Other restrictions apply. For eligibility requirements and details on how to participate, visit www.pscleanair.org/woodstove.

These seven ZIP codes are most impacted by the elevated pollution levels measured at the South L Street air-quality monitor in Tacoma. This monitor has measured 24-hour pollution levels in violation of federal air quality standards for fine particulate matter (PM2.5). As a result, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated portions of Tacoma and Pierce County as a "nonattainment" area for fine particle pollution, which means that pollution levels pose a health concern and exceed national air quality standards.

For additional information visit www.pscleanair.org .

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