All burning prohibited through Friday, possibly longer, due to poor air quality

UPDATE: The ban was lifted Saturday as air quality in the Puget Sound area improved. Fire saftey burn bans — which allow small fires for cooking, as long as they are contained — remain in effect.

Original story: Because of the wildfire smoke from British Columbia coming into this region, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has issued a Stage 1 air quality burn ban for King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties, effective at 4 p.m. today, Aug. 2. This ban is in effect until further notice.

All outdoor burning is prohibited during this ban, due to poor air quality. The ban includes charcoal barbecues, fire pits and other free-standing fire devices, campfires, bonfires, using fireplaces (except those with natural gas or propane inserts, all agricultural burning and Native American ceremonial fires outside of tribal lands.

With winds from British Columbia moving wildfire smoke into the area, air pollution levels have become unhealthy for sensitive populations. The pattern is projected to last through Friday, possibly longer.

The purpose of the burn ban is to reduce any additional harm to sensitive populations from excess air pollution and is in addition to existing fire safety burn bans.

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).

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