Countywide burn ban broadened

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

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Stubbornly stagnant air patterns have prompted a stage two burn ban across all of Clark County, the Southwest Washington Clean Air Agency announced Monday afternoon. The more strict ban — effective immediately — follows Friday’s stage one burn ban, issued after the stagnant weather pattern first settled over the region last week.

The stage two ban means the use of all fireplaces, inserts, wood stoves and pellet stoves is prohibited. Outdoor burning is also prohibited. Homes that use wood burning as their sole source of heat, however, are exempt from the ban.

Recent weather conditions have caused fine-particle air pollution to rise to potentially unhealthy levels, according to the clean air agency, particularly for people with heart and lung problems, children and older citizens. Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks for some people, cause difficulty breathing or exacerbate lung or heart conditions, according to the agency.

The stage two burn ban will continue until conditions improve. An air stagnation advisory issued Monday by the National Weather Service remains in effect until Friday.