Ah, the chilly days of winter, perfect time to lay out a blanket in front of the fireplace, cradle a mug of hot chocolate and gaze contentedly into your cold, empty hearth.
Cold, empty hearth?
Yep, sorry folks. There’s a Stage 2 burn ban effective in King, Kitsap and Pierce counties due to air pollution issues, which means no fires in the fireplace unless it’s your only adequate source of heat:
Due to stable weather conditions and elevated air pollution levels, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is issuing a Stage 2 burn ban for King, Kitsap and Pierce counties, effective at 10:00 a.m. today, December 9, 2009. The Stage 2 burn ban for Snohomish County, which was issued on Tuesday, remains in effect.
Stable weather conditions, combined with heavy use of wood-burning devices in our region, have created pollution levels that are unhealthy for sensitive group populations (the very young, elderly and those individuals with heart and lung ailments). These weather conditions are expected to remain in place for several days, prompting the expansion of this Stage 2 burn ban to quickly reduce wood smoke emissions impacting communities throughout the central Puget Sound region.
We are closely monitoring air quality conditions and forecasted meteorology. Weather conditions allowing the removal of the Stage 2 ban are not expected before Saturday.
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, unless this is your only adequate source of heat. 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
- Even if your fireplace, pellet stove, or wood stove is your only adequate source of heat, no visible smoke is allowed.
- 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.
Watch the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency web site for more info.