The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency is asking that all residents voluntarily curtail all outdoor burning in Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Grays Harbor and neighboring counties.
The weekend’s cold, calm weather will mean any smoke produced will stay in the region and air pollution will to rise, according to an agency news release.
By limiting the amount of outdoor burning, ORCAA hopes to avoid having to call for an official burn ban that would require residents to stop using woodstoves for home heating.
The agency wants residents who do use woodstoves for home heating to ensure they burn only clean, dry firewood that has been cut, split, and stacked under cover for at least nine months. They should also burn that wood in hot fires with lots of air flow. Dampering down smolders the fire, wasting wood and creates excessive smoke.
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Burning wood creates smoke composed of fine particulate matter that is too small to be filtered by the nose and the body’s other defense mechanisms, so they may end up inhaled deep into the lungs. Exposure to wood smoke can cause breathing problems and can increase the severity of existing lung diseases, including asthma.
For more information, go to orcaa.org.