(Evidence of how cold it is: Mark‘s icy photo from Alki)
With cold, dry weather and stagnating air, a Stage 2 burn ban has just been announced for King County – and that means no woodburning unless you have no other source of heat – no beach fires, either. Details:
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is issuing a Stage 2 burn ban in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties to protect residents from worsening air quality. The bans are effective at noon, Sunday, January 13, 2013 and remain in effect until further notice.
Overnight, many areas around the Puget Sound reached air pollution levels of “UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS”, especially in areas where wood burning is common. Agency forecasters expect the current cold, dry, and stagnant weather conditions to extend well into the week. The Clean Air Agency will continue to closely monitor the air quality and weather situation.
During a Stage 2 burn ban:
No burning is allowed in ANY wood-burning fireplaces, wood stoves or fireplace inserts (certified or uncertified) or pellet 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 chimineas.
Burn ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.
It is OK to use natural gas and propane stoves or inserts during a Stage 2 burn ban.
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 older adults (over age 65).
(Note: The Seattle Parks Department prohibits beach fires at Alki and Golden Gardens during the burn ban.)