Burn ban archives for: Whatcom County

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.

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.

 

DNR lifting burn ban west of the Cascades; East of the Cascades, burn ban will allow campfires

NOTE: Fire Safety Burn Bans enacted by local county agencies remain in effect until those agencies lift them. The DNR changes apply only to lands protected by DNR fire crews.

With continued fall weather conditions west of the Cascades, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is lifting the ban on outdoor burning on DNR-protected lands in western Washington, effective 12:01 a.m., Sept. 20.

The burn ban east of the Cascades has been eased in order to allow campfires in campfire pits in designated campgrounds only.

“The fall weather pattern shows us it’s time to lift western Washington’s burn ban,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “It will also permit us to ease the burn ban east of the Cascades by allowing campfires in some locations.”

There are exceptions. Due to continued high fire danger, campfires may not be allowed in some locations in northeast Washington.

Check before having a campfire
County burn bans may still be in effect in various locations throughout Washington, and residents should check with local fire districts for information. If campers and visitors are unsure about whether a campground is on DNR-protected land, they should check with local park authorities. Also, check with them on any campfire restrictions that may be in place.

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.

Fireworks and incendiary devices, such as exploding targets, sky lanterns, or tracer ammunition remain illegal on all DNR-protected lands.

Those who negligently allow fire to spread or who knowingly place forestlands in danger of destruction or damage are subject to possible civil liabilities and criminal penalties under state law. DNR, as well as anyone harmed by such a fire, may pursue damages that include loss of property and fire suppression costs.

The burn ban east of the Cascades will run through September 30, 2016 and applies to all lands under DNR fire protection east of the Cascade Mountains, which does not include federally owned lands.

 

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. fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/firedanger/. For a description of activities prohibited by the burn ban, go to www.dnr.wa.gov/burn-bans.

 

For a copy of the Commissioner’s Order, go to http://www.dnr.wa.gov/burn-bans.