Are There Any Burn Bans in Effect?

April 29, 2020 11:30 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

You might not expect fire pits and coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) to be mentioned in the same sentence in Seattle, WA, but there’s a good reason to exercise caution when using your fire pit during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fire pits and COVID-19

If you have a wood-burning fire pit in your Seattle backyard, you might not be able to use it during certain times of the year. That’s because anytime you burn wood or other substances, you risk releasing smoke and other types of pollution into the air. In normal years, burn bans go into effect when the air quality is too low or the risk of wildfires becomes too high, usually due to high temperatures, dry air and a lack of rainfall.

Today, the state of Washington is asking its residents to use caution when using outdoor fire pits, as well as wood-burning stoves and fireplaces indoors. Why?

COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus—which is why we’re currently sheltering in place to reduce strain on the healthcare system—but more importantly in this case, it causes severe respiratory distress to those afflicted. That’s why the state of Washington is asking us to consider the potential impact that wood burning can have on our neighbors and the environment at large.

As of April 15, 2020, there are currently no burn bans in place in the state, according to the Department of Ecology. That means that you can use your wood-burning fire pit—but if you live in an area with a lot of elderly or immunocompromised residents, you might consider pausing your fire pit usage until further notice.

Burn bans do not affect homes with no other source of heat. If you have a fire pit in your backyard, however, that exception likely does not apply to you.

Exercising caution

Before you decide to use your fire pit, check the Department of Ecology website as well as your county and city sites for further restrictions. If your county shows up in red, that’s considered a stage 2 burn ban and prohibits all types of outdoor burning. If your county is yellow, that’s a stage 1 burn ban, and you won’t be allowed to use uncertified wood stoves or fireplaces, nor engage in any outdoor burning, including forest and agricultural burning.

Again, these burn bans are primarily enacted to save air quality and prevent wildfires—but if the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through Washington at a higher-than-expected rate, it’s possible that the Department of Ecology could enact a coronavirus-related burn ban, affecting fire pits in Seattle, WA.

Being stuck at home isn’t fun—we know. However, exercising caution and using your outdoor fire pit judiciously is a great idea to keep the boredom at bay, so long as you follow local guidelines and keep the health and safety of your neighbors in mind.

Thinking about installing your own backyard fire pit? Custom Fire Art has been creating beautiful and functional outdoor fire pits for commercial and residential clients since 2008. Call us today to learn more about what we can do for you.

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