Due to stagnant weather conditions and rising air pollution, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issued a Stage 2 burn ban for greater Pierce County on Jan. 1 that remains in effect.
Pollution levels are at moderate to unhealthy for sensitive people. There was a substantial spike in fine particle pollution in South Tacoma, likely from fireworks or late night/early morning burning during the holidays. Stagnant conditions will continue, so conditions won’t improve much, and could worsen. Winds should drop in the coming days.
Check the Pierce County Burn Ban Area Map for more specific information. The purpose of a burn ban is to reduce the amount of pollution that is creating unhealthy air usually due to excessive wood smoke. The Clean Air Agency will continue to closely monitor the situation.
During a Stage 2 burn ban:
- No burning is allowed in any wood-burning fireplaces, certified or uncertified wood stoves or fireplace inserts. 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.
- The only exception is if the homeowner has a previously approved ‘No Other Adequate Source of Heat’ designation from the Clean Air Agency
- No outdoor fires are allowed. This includes recreational fires such as bonfires, campfires and the use of fire pits.
- 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.
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 older adults (over age 65).
Visit pscleanair.org/burnban to view the current burn ban status.