Burn ban issued for Pierce County

TACOMA  -- Just as temperatures dip near freezing around the region, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issued a Stage 1 burn ban for Pierce County today.

Beginning at 4 p.m., residents will not be able to use fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves to heat their homes. In the meantime, the Clean Air Agency advises residents use other sources of heat, such as furnaces or electric heaters.

The ban also restricts recreational burning, such as bonfires or campfires. The only exception is if a wood stove is the only adequate source of heat.

Burn ban violators could be fined $1,000.

Officials say burn bans are intended to reduce the amount of wood smoke in the air, which usually increases unhealthy air pollution.

The wood burning will remain restricted until air quality improves.