Category Archives: ORCAA

Olympic Region Clean Air Agency

Stage 1 Burn Ban LIFTED in Thurston County

Due to improved air quality conditions and changing weather, the Stage One Burn Ban has been LIFTED in Thurston County effective at 10 a.m. today (Tuesday, Dec.12, 2017).

The Stage 1 Burn Ban in Eastern Clallam County remains in effect at this time.

A substantial reduction in smoke output due at least in part to the great public response to the called ban, has moved Air Quality conditions back into the “Green” on the Washington Air Quality Advisory (WAQA) scale (see real-time air quality conditions HERE).

To stay up-to-date on burn bans throughout Washington, visit waburnbans.net and for all air quality issues, visit ORCAA at www.orcaa.org.

Stage 1 Burn Ban called for Eastern Clallam County (12/11/17), continued in Thurston Co.

A Stage One Burn Ban is being called for the portion of Clallam County east of the Elwha River effective 1 p.m. today (Monday, Dec. 11, 2017) and continuing until conditions warrant a change. All of Thurston County remains under a Stage 1 Burn Ban as well.

Under a Stage 1 Ban, no burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves, and all outdoor burning is prohibited, even in areas where outdoor burning is not permanently banned. Additionally, no visible smoke is allowed from any woodstove or fireplace, certified or not, beyond a 20-minute start-up period.

A system of stable weather conditions over Western Washington, coupled with cold overnight temperatures has resulted in air pollution levels climbing enough to raise concerns about the air quality and its impacts on health. A change in weather will be needed to restore cleaner air quality, yet that’s not forecast to occur until late this week at least.

While pollution levels in Thurston and eastern Clallam Counties warrants the Stage One Ban, other counties within the jurisdiction of the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) haven’t reached that level. To avoid bans in their areas, the residents of Mason 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 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.

Olympic Region Clean Air Agency staff will continue to monitor the situation to determine when the burn ban can be lifted. In the meantime, here are some other things people can do to help protect the air we breathe:

  • If you have a certified wood stove or fireplace insert, make sure you are using it properly so you don’t produce excess chimney smoke. Excess smoke is always illegal. To learn more about clean burning techniques or upgrading to a certified, pellet, natural gas or propane stove, visit http://www.epa.gov/ burnwise/
  • To determine if your stove is certified, visit http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/air/indoor_woodsmoke/pdfs/Wood_stoves.pdf
  • Limit your driving as much as possible, since vehicles are a big source of air pollution year round. Check air-quality forecasts and current conditions HERE

For more information about Burn Ban regulations, you may refer to Chapter 173-433 of the Washington Administrative Code.

DNR eases campfire restrictions after rains

Other outdoor burning still prohibited due to continuing high fire danger

OLYMPIA – With rain and cooler temperatures easing fire danger across Washington, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is lifting restrictions on recreational campfires.

Effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20, campfires will be allowed in approved fire pits in designated campgrounds Washington lands protected by DNR.

Because forests and rangelands remain dry from the summer’s low precipitation totals, other forms of outdoor burning, such as debris burning, remain prohibited under the burn ban ordered by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.

“We’re thankful to have rain help wet our landscapes, but as we saw with a quick-moving fire east of Ellensburg Sunday evening, we’re not out of fire season quite yet,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “I urge everyone to check with their local authorities before lighting campfires.”

Check local restrictions

Counties and local fire districts may have their own continued campfire bans. Burn restrictions on federally-owned lands, such as national forests, national parks, national wildlife refuges or other areas are administered by federal agencies. Check local restrictions, campground signs or with campground hosts before starting a campfire.

For current information on burn restrictions, call 1-800-323-BURN or visit DNR’s webpage showing fire danger and burning restrictions by county: www.dnr.wa.gov/burn-restrictions.

Those choosing to have a campfire in allowed areas should:

  • Use an approved or provided fire pit only; don’t create a new one.
  • Keep the campfire small.
  • Keep plenty of water and a shovel nearby.
  • Never leave the campfire unattended.
  • To extinguish a campfire: drown with water, mix ashes, scrape partially-burned sticks and logs, and alternate drowning and mixing until cold. A campfire too hot to touch, is too hot to leave.

 More than 90 percent of Washington’s wildfires this year have been human-caused. As of Sept. 19, 2017, DNR has responded to 745 wildfires this year. Here is a year-to-date comparison of the last 5 years:

  • 2012 – 671 fires for 67,455 acres
  • 2013 – 722 fires for 126,027 acres
  • 2014 – 808 fires for 314,565 acres
  • 2015 – 953 fires for 753,104 acres
  • 2016 – 766 fires for 16,403 acres

Escaped and abandoned campfires are one of the state’s leading causes of wildfires, with an average of 105 fires started by campfires over the past five years. Washington also sees an average of 140 fires started by debris burning every year.

DNR’s wildfire mission

Administered 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 forestlands. DNR is the state’s largest on-call fire department and participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.

 

Stage 1 Burn Ban called for Thurston County

Stage 1 Burn Ban called for Thurston County

A Stage One Burn Ban is being called for Thurston County effective 2 p.m. today (Friday, January 13, 2017) and continuing until conditions warrant a change.

Under a Stage 1 Ban, no burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves, and all outdoor burning is prohibited, even in areas where outdoor burning is not permanently banned. Additionally, no visible smoke is allowed from any woodstove or fireplace, certified or not, beyond a 20-minute start-up period.

A system of stable weather conditions over Western Washington, coupled with cold overnight temperatures has resulted in air pollution levels climbing enough to raise concerns about the air quality and its impacts on health. A change in weather will be needed to restore cleaner air quality, yet that’s not forecast to occur until Monday at the earliest.

While pollution levels in Thurston County warrants the Stage One Ban, other counties within the jurisdiction of the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) 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 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.

Olympic Region Clean Air Agency staff will continue to monitor the situation to determine when the burn ban can be lifted. In the meantime, here are some other things people can do to help protect the air we breathe:

  • If you have a certified wood stove or fireplace insert, make sure you are using it properly so you don’t produce excess chimney smoke. Excess smoke is always illegal. To learn more about clean burning techniques or upgrading to a certified, pellet, natural gas or propane stove, visit http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/
  • To determine if your stove is certified, visit www.orcaa.org.
  • Limit your driving as much as possible, since vehicles are a big source of air pollution year round. Check air-quality forecasts and current conditions at www.orcaa.org.

For more information about Burn Ban regulations, you may refer to Chapter 173-433 of the Washington Administrative Code.