Category Archives: NWCAA

Northwest Clean Air Agency

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.

Effective Aug. 2, DNR Bans Outdoor Burning Statewide

Some campfires still allowed, check local restrictions before lighting any fire

OLYMPIA –Ninety-six percent of the state is experiencing drought-like conditions, which means a high risk of wildfires. In response, Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz is instituting a statewide ban on outdoor burning on the 13 million acres of forests and state parks under DNR fire protection.

Per the Commissioner’s Order, the ban begins Thursday, August 2, 2018.

Included in the outdoor burning ban are burn piles, prescribed burns, and the use of charcoal briquettes.

“When the risk of wildfire is this high – and when so many of our firefighting resources are already committed – we must take significant steps to protect our communities and firefighters,” said Commissioner Hilary Franz. “I know this is an inconvenience, and I appreciate the public understanding that this is not a safe time for intentional burning within our forests.”

The burn ban does not include federally managed lands, such as national forests, national parks, national wildlife refuges, or other areas administered by federal agencies.

Campfires are still allowed in approved fire pits within some designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds.

To avoid accidental wildfires, the public can practice these prevention tips:

Camping and recreating

  • Only build campfires where authorized and when not under a burn ban; put them completely out before leaving camp, even for a few minutes; use plenty of water and stir until the coals are cold to the touch. Check locally before lighting a campfire as conditions may change and counties and local fire districts may have additional or new burn restrictions.
  • Dispose of lit smoking materials appropriately.
  • Fireworks, incendiary ammunition and exploding targets start fires and are illegal to use or discharge on public lands, including all state forests.

 Vehicles and Towing

  • Be sure chains and other metal parts aren’t dragging from your vehicle or trailer. They can throw sparks and start fires.
  • Make sure all off-road vehicles have a properly functioning and approved spark arrester.
  • Be careful driving through or parking on dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes can start the grass on fire. You may not even notice the fire until it’s too late.
  • Check tire pressure and condition. Driving on an exposed wheel rim can cause sparks.
  • Have brakes serviced regularly to prevent brake pads wearing too thin; metal on metal can spark or drop pieces of hot brake pad.

Daily updates on burn restrictions are available at 1-800-323-BURN or on DNR’s website at www.dnr.wa.gov/OutdoorBurning.

The outdoor burning ban is expected to last through Sept. 30, 2018, though may be extended or shortened based upon ongoing fire conditions.

Stay connected during wildfire season

Anyone who spots a wildfire should call 911 as soon as possible to report it.

DNR’s wildfire mission

Led by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned land. DNR is the state’s largest wildfire fighting force.

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