Author Archives: Seth Preston

Air quality burn ban ends in Island, Skagit, Whatcom

The Northwest Clean Air Agency is ending a Stage 1 air quality burn ban for Island, Skagit and Whatcom counties because air quality has improved.

This air quality burn ban was separate from the three counties’ fire safety burn bans on outdoor burning, which were called in July, remain in effect because of increased fire danger:

“We’re lifting the air quality burn ban because levels of fine particles from wildfire smoke are dropping throughout the region,” said NWCAA Executive Director Mark Buford. “We would like to thank everyone who did their part to protect the air and people’s health during the air quality burn ban.”

“Please remember that the counties’ fire safety burn bans are still in place until local fire officials determine that fire danger has passed,” Buford said.

NWCAA will continue to assess air quality while wildfires in British Columbia, Eastern Washington and other areas continue to produce smoke that may reach local communities. Another air quality burn ban would be called if needed.

Check NWCAA’s website (www.nwcleanairwa.gov) or WABurnBans.net for up-to-date air quality burn ban information and follow @NWCleanAir on Twitter and on our Facebook page.

More information

  • Washington Smoke Information blog: wasmoke.blogspot.com
  • Statewide air quality monitoring: Washington Department of Ecology.
  • Health questions? Contact your local health department:
    • Skagit County Health: 360-416-1500
    • Island County Health: 360-679-7350
    • Whatcom County Health: 360-778-6000

 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, wood stoves, and fireplaces. More information about the agency is available at www.nwcleanairwa.gov.

Burn ban lifted for Columbia Valley in Whatcom County

KENDALL – Effective immediately, the Northwest Clean Air Agency is canceling a Stage 2 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 2 burn ban, all burning is prohibited unless you have an exemption from NWCAA. (See http://nwcleanairwa.gov/wood-heating-exemption-forms for information.)

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.

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 age 65 and older.

Check www.waburnbans.net or NWCAA’s website (www.nwcleanairwa.gov) for up-to-date burn ban information.

More information

Stage 2 burn ban now in effect in Columbia Valley

KENDALL – The Northwest Clean Air Agency is elevating a Stage 1 air quality burn ban to a Stage 2 burn ban in the Columbia Valley urban growth area in Whatcom County because cold, stagnant air is keeping smoke from wood burning from clearing out.

During a Stage 2 burn ban, all burning is prohibited unless you qualify for an exemption from NWCAA. (See http://nwcleanairwa.gov/wood-heating-exemption-forms for information.)

During a Stage 2 burn ban:

  • No burning is allowed in any wood-burning fireplaces, woodstoves, or fireplace inserts (certified or uncertified), and pellet stoves unless you have an exemption from NWCAA.
  • No outdoor fires of any kind are allowed. This includes burning of yard waste, land clearing, agricultural burning, and forest burning, plus recreational fires in devices like backyard fire kettles, chimneys, and fire pits.

As air quality improves, Northwest Clean Air will lower the burn ban to Stage 1 or cancel it. Check www.waburnbans.net or NWCAA’s website (www.nwcleanairwa.gov) for up-to-date burn ban information.

Burn ban violators could face fines and other enforcement actions. Remember that it is always illegal to emit excess chimney smoke and impact your neighbors. It is also illegal to burn trash.

The burn ban is based on weather forecasts and current air pollution from small particles. Right now, air quality is predicted to be worse than the national health-based standard for at least 24 hours.

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 age 65 and older.

More information

Stage 1 burn ban called for Columbia Valley in Whatcom County

For Immediate Release – Dec. 7, 2017

KENDALL – The Northwest Clean Air Agency is calling a Stage 1 air quality burn ban for the Columbia Valley urban growth area in Whatcom County because smoke particles are reducing air quality.

Fine particles in wood smoke are harmful because they can be inhaled deeply into lungs and damage delicate tissues.

During a Stage 1 air quality 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-exemptionforms/ for more information.) No outdoor burning is allowed, including residential, agricultural and forest burning.

• Use of certified woodstoves, pellet stoves, and other certified wood-burning devices is allowed. Residents are urged to make sure to limit wood smoke from those devices.

Burn ban violators could face fines and other enforcement actions. Remember that it is always illegal to emit excess chimney smoke and impact your neighbors. It is also illegal to burn trash.

The burn ban is based on weather forecasts and current air pollution from small particles. Right now, air quality is predicted to be worse than the national health-based standard for at least 24 hours.

The Stage 1 ban will remain in effect until further notice. If conditions get worse, Northwest Clean Air will move to a Stage 2 burn ban. Check NWCAA’s website (www.nwcleanairwa.gov) for up-to-date burn ban information.

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 age 65 and older.

More information

• Local air quality information: Northwest Clean Air Agency.

• Statewide air quality monitoring: Washington Department of Ecology.