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Burn bans start Saturday in five Eastern Washington counties

Dec 02, 2011

Burn bans will start Saturday (Dec. 3, 2011) in five Eastern Washington counties to protect residents from worsening air quality, according to the Washington Department of Ecology.

Ecology's Stage 1 burn bans for Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan, Ferry, and Stevens counties takes effect at noon Saturday and will continue until at least 10 a.m. Tuesday (Dec. 6). The bans could be called off or extended at that time. The Stage 1 ban applies to unnecessary use of uncertified wood-burning devices (including wood stoves, inserts and fireplaces) and to all outdoor burning.

This means that any burning - in homes or outdoors - that starts before noon Saturday must be extinguished at the time the bans begin.

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:

* Use of uncertified wood-burning devices - including fireplaces, wood stoves and inserts - is prohibited unless they are a home's only source of heat.

* All outdoor burning - including residential, agricultural and forest burning - is prohibited.

* Use of certified wood-burning devices and pellet stoves is allowed. Ecology recommends burning hot fires using only clean, dry wood.

* No excessive smoke is allowed from any wood-burning device beyond a 20-minute start-up.

* Burn ban violators are subject to civil penalties.

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