Department of Ecology News Release - January 6, 2017
SPOKANE - A Stage 1 burn ban has been called for Okanogan County, beginning at 4 p.m. today, Jan. 6, and extended for Stevens County at least until noon, Monday, Jan. 9. Air quality conditions have worsened in these two Northeastern Washington counties, particularly for sensitive groups.
Washington Department of Ecology forecasters will reassess weather conditions Monday to determine if the bans should be called off or extended.
Cold, stagnant air is keeping wood smoke and other pollution close to the ground, which can affect people’s health. Monitoring data shows that air quality is currently unhealthy for sensitive groups, including people with heart or lung disease, children and adults over 65.
Under a Stage 1 ban, all outdoor burning is prohibited including residential, agricultural and forest burning. Use of uncertified wood stoves, fireplaces, inserts, and other uncertified wood-burning devices is prohibited unless they are a home’s only adequate source of heat. Certified wood stoves, pellet stoves and other certified wood-burning devices are allowed.
“We know it is cold out there and some people burn only wood to stay warm,” said air quality manager Sean Hopkins. “When stoking your fire, burn hot and clean to prevent smoke coming from your chimney. Others should use alternative heat sources to protect you and your neighbors’ health.”
Call 866-211-6284 if you think someone is illegally burning or you are impacted by smoke.
Up-to-date burn ban information is available at www.waburnbans.net.
Ecology’s burn bans do not apply on tribal reservations, where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has jurisdiction. Call 800-424-4372 for tribal burn ban information or visit EPA’s Washington Burn Ban page on their website.
Brook Beeler, communications, 509-329-3478, @ecyspokane
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