KENDALL – Effective immediately, the Northwest Clean Air Agency is canceling a Stage 1 air quality burn ban in the Columbia Valley urban growth area in the Kendall area of Whatcom County.
A weather inversion caused by a high-pressure system is breaking up. During the inversion, cold, stagnant air kept fine smoke particles from wood burning from clearing out, which degraded air quality.
During a Stage 1 burn ban, all burning in fireplaces or uncertified woodstoves is prohibited unless you qualify for an exemption from NWCAA. (See http://nwcleanairwa.gov/wood-heating-exemption-forms/ for more information.) No outdoor burning is allowed, including residential, agricultural and forest burning.
Burn ban violators could face fines and other enforcement actions. In addition, remember that it is always illegal to emit excess chimney smoke that impacts your neighbors. It is also illegal to burn trash.
Burn bans are based on weather forecasts and current air pollution from small particles. They are called when air quality is predicted to be worse than the national health-based standard for at least 24 hours.
Fine particles in wood smoke are harmful because they can be inhaled deeply into lungs and damage delicate tissues. Smoke pollution can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing, and make lung and heart problems worse. Air pollution is especially harmful to children, people with heart and lung problems, and adults age 65 and older.
- Local air quality information: Northwest Clean Air Agency.
- Statewide air quality monitoring: Washington Department of Ecology.
The Northwest Clean Air Agency is responsible for enforcing federal, state and local air quality regulations in Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties. In addition to permitting and regulating industrial sources of air pollution, the agency provides services and information related to asbestos, indoor air quality, outdoor burning, woodstoves and fireplaces. More information about the agency is available at www.nwcleanairwa.gov.