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Burn ban takes effect Wednesday

Burning in fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves is prohibited starting Wednesday as a strong high pressure system causes the air to stagnate over Kitsap County, leading to an accumulation of air pollution.

The stage 1 burn ban, expected to stay in place at least until Sunday, allows for certified wood stoves and pellet stoves, but not regular fireplace burning unless it is a household’s only viable source of heat.

The restriction also applies to Pierce and Snohomish counties, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

The ban is an effort to stave off the more restrictive stage 2 burn ban, like the one in place earlier this month, said Kimberley Cline, spokeswoman for the agency.

“We hope if people curtail some of their burning we won't get to stage 2,” Cline said.

Even if a fireplace is a family's only source of heat, only dry, seasoned wood can be used, as creating smoke violates the ban.

It is the second burn ban enacted this month. On Dec. 8 a stage 2 ban was enacted for Snohomish, and then expanded to include Kitsap, King and Pierce counties. It lasted until Dec. 13.

Typically the agency enacts two to three bans a year, depending on weather, Cline said, and rarely do they last long.

Except for last year, a ban that took effect Jan. 16 extended until Jan. 24.

“That was a pretty long one for us,” Cline said, who noted the ban is in response to weather conditions, and isn't meant to dampen holiday fires.

“We don't control the weather” she said.

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