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ECOLOGY DECLARES AIR POLLUTION EPISODE FORECAST STAGE; OUTDOOR BURNING BANNED

ECOLOGY DECLARES AIR POLLUTION EPISODE FORECAST STAGE;
 OUTDOOR BURNING BANNED
 OLYMPIA, Wash., Dec. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Washington State Department of Ecology has banned outdoor burning in all counties and requests that people in all areas of the state refrain from using wood stoves and fireplaces if alternate sources of heat are available.
 Ecology declared the Forecast Stage of an Air Pollution Episode at 10 this morning in response to stagnant air conditions over the state. The Forecast Stage will remain in effect until further notice. Meanwhile, Ecology and local air quality agencies have stepped up their meteorological monitoring programs as part of the state Episode plan.
 The stagnant air over Washington state means that there is poor circulation of the atmosphere. It is much like being in a room with no ventilation. As the stagnation continues pollutants build up. This type of weather condition prevents air pollutants from dispersing. Instead pollutants remain trapped close to the ground.
 Under a Forecast Stage, all outdoor burning is banned. No new outdoor fires may be ignited. Existing outdoor fires must be extinguished as soon as possible. Violations can result in civil penalties of up to $10,000 per day.
 Until 1990 the Forecast Stage used to mean a statewide ban on indoor burning, as well. State law has been changed so that a Forecast Stage does not restrict indoor burning. However, local air quality agencies may continue to call indoor burning bans. Wood heat users should consult local media and air quality agency telephone hotlines as usual for information on wood stove burn bans.
 Wood smoke pollution poses a health risk to all people, but children, pregnant women and those with existing heart and respiratory conditions are especially susceptible. Because of this, and due to the fact that pollution will accumulate near the ground -- perhaps for days -- Ecology request that people not heat with wood if at all possible, even in areas where no local ban is in effect.
 Local indoor burning bans may be called in two stages, based on air pollution measurements. The first stage applies to all wood heat except certified stoves and most pellet stoves. If pollution continues to worsen, a second stage applies to all wood heat devices. In both stages, homes with no other sources of adequate heat are exempt.
 -0- 12/16/91
 /CONTACT: Larry Altose of Washington State Department of Ecology, 206-493-9362/ CO: Washington State Department of Ecology ST: Washington IN: SU:


JH-LM -- SE012 -- 2585 12/16/91 14:34 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 16, 1991
Words:416
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