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Air quality burn ban in effect for Whatcom County

The Sun is visible behind clouds amidst heavy wildfire smoke (September 16, 2020). Photo: Whatcom News

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Officials with the Northwest Clean Air Agency (NWCAA) has initiated a Stage 1 air quality burning ban in Whatcom, Island and Skagit Counties beginning today, Friday, September 9th. The ban is based on weather forecasts and current air pollution. Currently, air quality is predicted to be worse than the national health-based standard for at least 24 hours.

Outdoor burning is not allowed during a Stage 1 air quality burn ban. Home heating with fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves is also prohibited. This air quality burn ban is separate from, and in addition to, fire safety burn bans already in effect because of increased fire danger in the three counties.

The ban is expected to be raised to Stage 2 next week as conditions are expected to worsen over the weekend. A Stage 2 ban would extend to agricultural and recreational burning, including campfires and fire pits.

NWCAA Executive Director Mark Buford is quoted in today’s press release as saying, “Once the air has cleared, we will remove the air quality burn ban. But the fire safety burn bans will remain in place until fire officials determine that fire danger has passed.”

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