Department of Ecology News Release - January 15, 2013

13-015

Ecology issues burn bans in Kittitas, Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has issued Stage 1 burn bans in Kittitas, Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties. The bans take effect immediately.

Ecology’s Stage 1 burn bans for those counties will continue until further notice. A Stage 1 ban applies to the use of uncertified wood-burning devices (including wood stoves, inserts and fireplaces) and to all outdoor burning.

Ecology’s burn bans do not apply on tribal reservations, where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has jurisdiction.

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.

Under a Stage 1 ban:

Burn ban violators are subject to civil penalties. You can report violators by calling Ecology’s smoke complaint hotline (1-866-211-6284).

A 2009 Ecology analysis estimates that fine particles contribute to about 1,100 deaths and about $190 million in health-care costs each year in Washington.

For burn ban updates:

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.

Ecology recommends that people limit vehicle trips, combine errands or use public transportation to reduce air pollution.

You can track air quality in your area by using the Washington Air Quality Advisory (WAQA). This is Ecology’s tool for informing people about the health effects of air pollution, including fine particles. It uses color-coded categories to show when air quality is good, moderate or unhealthy.

For more information about WAQA, see this Ecology fact sheet.

###

Media Contact: Seth Preston, Ecology communications manager, 360-407-7004; 360-584-5744 cell; seth.preston@ecy.wa.gov

See a list of certified wood stoves and other information (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/air/indoor_woodsmoke/wood_smoke_page.htm)

Tips on getting the most heat from your firewood (http://burndryfirewood.com/)

Check for Ecology burn bans (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/air/outdoor_woodsmoke/Burn_Ban.htm)

Washington Air Quality Advisory (https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/)

WAQA fact sheet (https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/publications/0802022.pdf)

Ecology analysis of fine particles and health (https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/publications/0902021.pdf)

Ecology’s social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)