Clean Air Agency enacts burn ban

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has issued a Stage 2 burn ban for Kitsap, King, and Pierce counties. The ban began at 10 a.m. Wednesday and will continue until further notice.

The ban is in place because the cold weather has led to high usage of wood-burning devices in the area. The use has resulted in high levels of pollution unsafe for sensitive populations, such as the very young, elderly and people with heart and lung problems.

During the ban, use of wood-burning furnaces, wood stoves and other similar heating devices is prohibited, unless it is a person's only heat source.

"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 canceled," the agency's Web site said.

PSCAA spokeswoman Amy Warren said it's residents' responsibility to determine if a wood stove is their only source of heat.

If that is the case, residents have to burn carefully to avoid emitting smoke from their homes.

Warren said burning dry, seasoned wood will prevent the emission of smoke.

"If you burn properly, you shouldn't have smoke coming from your wood stove," Warren said. "If there's smoke coming out, you are in violation of the burn ban."

Outdoor fires are also banned.

Current conditions are expected to remain for several days, which could cause the ban to stretch over several days.

"Weather conditions allowing the removal of the Stage 2 ban are not expected before Saturday," the site said.

Ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.

If residents have questions about the ban, PSCAA can be reached at 1-800-552-3565 or at its Web site.

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