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Burn bans issued for Okanogan, Kittitas counties

UNION GAP – Warm air and a shallow layer of fog in mountain valleys is trapping smoke and impairing air quality, prompting the state to issue burn bans in Kittitas and Okanogan counties.

The bans start at 4 p.m. today, Feb. 9.

The state Department of Ecology is calling stage 1 burn bans for both counties because air quality is likely to remain mostly stagnant over the next few days. The burn bans will continue through 10 a.m. Friday, when they could be called off or extended.

Under a stage 1 ban, all outdoor burning is prohibited, including residential, agricultural and forest burning. Use of uncertified wood stoves, fireplaces, inserts and other uncertified wood-burning devices is prohibited unless they are the home’s only adequate source of heat. Certified wood stoves, pellet stoves and other certified wood-burning devices are allowed.

“We’re working to keep air quality from reaching unhealthy levels,” said atmospheric scientist and air quality specialist Jay Carmony. “Moderate winds at times will improve air quality, but a generally stagnant pattern is expected for the remainder of the week.”

Ecology’s burn bans do not apply on tribal reservations, where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has jurisdiction.

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