The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency has issued a Stage 2 Burn Ban for Thurston County. Under a Stage 2 ban, no burning is allowed in fireplaces or wood stoves (certified and uncertified), and all outdoor burning is prohibited. The ban will be lifted only after a change in weather arrives to improve the air quality. While pollution levels in Thurston County warrant the Stage 2 Ban other counties within ORCAA’s jurisdiction haven’t reached that level. To avoid bans in their areas, the residents of Mason, Pacific, Grays Harbor, Clallam and Jefferson Counties are asked to voluntarily refrain from all outdoor burning, and to use safe alternatives to wood heat if possible. Of particular concern are fine particles released by smoke from outdoor burning as well as from the use of wood stoves and fireplaces. The Washington State Department of Health recommends that people who are sensitive to air pollution limit time spent outdoors. Air 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 over age 65.
Meanwhile, the air stagnation advisory continues for the South Sound. High pressure has produced a strong temperature inversion which is allowing pollutants to build up and air quality to deteriorate. The air stagnation advisory remains in effect until 4 PM this afternoon.