Washington State Department of Ecology - December 30, 2013

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Burn ban expires today for nine Eastern Washington counties

YAKIMA– A Stage 1 burn ban in Kittitas, Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Asotin and Walla Walla counties expires at 4 p.m., Monday, Dec. 30, as scheduled according to the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology).

Stage 1 bans prohibit use of uncertified wood-burning devices (including wood stoves, inserts and fireplaces) and all outdoor burning unless they are a home’s only adequate source of heat.

By limiting burning and following restrictions when burn bans are called, residents can help improve air quality sooner.

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.

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. go online to www.waburnbans.net.

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 adults over age 65.

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.

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Media Contact:

Camille St. Onge, camille.st.onge@ecy.wa.gov; 360-584-6501

For more information:

List of certified wood stoves and other information (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 (/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)