Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Stage 1 Burn Ban begins at 6:00 pm Tonight

The following information is shared on behalf of SouthWest Washington Clean Air

December 24, 2013

Stage 1 Burn Ban Being Declared for Clark County
The use of fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves will be prohibited until the outlook for air quality improves. Households without an adequate alternative heat source are exempted.

VANCOUVER, Wash. – The Southwest Clean Air Agency (SWCAA) is issuing a Stage 1 Burn Ban for all of Clark County effective at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 24, 2013 until further notice.  A high pressure system is forecast to settle in over the area and persist through the week and possibly beyond. Attendant stagnant weather patterns and rising fine particle pollution levels are expected to worsen over Christmas and lead to poor air quality later in the week. The ban will continue at least until 4 p.m. Friday, December 27. Evening-to-morning inversions followed by poor daytime ventilation and dispersion are forecast to cause moderate to high fine particle pollution levels throughout the week and possibly into next week.  This stagnant weather pattern means that the use of all fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves and inserts is prohibited. All outdoor burning is also prohibited during this Stage 1 Burn Ban.  If wood burning is your only adequate source of heat, you are exempt from this ban. We ask that you burn as clean as possible. Proper burning should produce no visible smoke from your chimney.
These curtailments occur in two progressive stages as needed:
Stage 1: The use of all fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves and inserts is banned when pollution is forecasted to reach unhealthy levels. Uncertified units are typically older than 1990 and lack a certification label on the back of the unit.
Stage 2: All wood heating is prohibited, including certified units, when the Stage 1 curtailment has not reversed the increasing pollution trend and weather conditions still indicate a high risk for exceeding air quality health standards.
“We are hopeful that calling this Stage 1 curtailment will prevent us from exceeding the federal health-based standard for fine particle pollution,” said Robert Elliott, Executive Director for the agency.  Elliott went on to say that “although we may see these fine particle pollution levels decreasing by some amount during the day, on cold evenings with little or no wind, wood smoke pollution can accumulate to levels that are considered unhealthy. Fine particles released by smoke from wood stoves, fireplaces and other burning are of concern because they can reach deep into and remain in the lungs. Episodes of high fine particle pollution can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing and make lung and heart problems worse. We are not asking anyone to go without heat, but to use an alternative source of heat if possible until our air quality returns to healthy levels. The fine particles that can reach deep into our lungs are individually invisible to the human eye which is why there is concern over a smoking chimney that is releasing very high concentrations of lung penetrating particles.”
To sign up to receive e-mail notifications of these wood stove curtailment burn bans, visit www.swcleanair.org.
Founded in 1968, the mission of the Southwest Clean Air Agency is to preserve and enhance the air quality in southwest Washington.  Serving the counties of Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Skamania and Wahkiakum, SWCAA is responsible for protecting the public’s health through the enforcement of federal, state and local air quality standards and regulations.
For more information contact:

            Randy Peltier, Operations Manager                Paul Mairose, Chief Engineer
Southwest Clean Air Agency                         Southwest Clean Air Agency

360-574-3058                                                  360-574-3058
            randy@swcleanair.org                                   paul@swcleanair.org

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