The Southwest Clean Air Agency (SWCAA) is issuing a Stage 1 Burn Ban for all of Clark County effective at 5:00 p.m. Monday, January 14, 2013 until further notice. A high pressure system has moved in over the area and is forecast to persist through the week and beyond. Attendant stagnant weather patterns and rising fine particle pollution levels are expected. Evening inversions followed by poor daytime ventilation and dispersion are forecasted to cause continued levels of 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. However, if air quality should continue to deteriorate, this Burn Ban may have to be extended or upgraded to a Stage 2, which would prohibit all wood burning, including fireplaces, certified wood stoves, inserts and pellet stoves. 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 some during the day, on cold nights 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 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.”
We make every effort to ensure that all burn ban announcements and restrictions are posted. Always call or visit your county and local clean air agency and check the DNR fire danger for the most current information.