Stage 2 Burn Ban issued in Yakima County - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Stage 2 Burn Ban issued in Yakima County

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YAKIMA COUNTY, WA - For the first time during this cold weather season, a Stage Two Burn Ban has been issued in Yakima County.

All it takes is one look at the skyline in Yakima County to notice the haze enveloping the valley. It's so bad, in fact, that the use of all wood burning devices has become prohibited.

"It's been very, very cold," said Mark Edler, Executive Division Supervisor for the Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency, "so people are using their wood burning devices, and combine that with a lot of vehicle traffic this time of year."

Apart from that, the Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency says that air quality is also more likely to diminish in colder seasons due to a lack of circulation, which results in problems for some.    

"It is certainly unhealthy for people that have any kind of respiratory problem, young children, elderly especially," said Edler.

During the Stage 2 Ban, an enforcement division patrols the county, whose only purpose is to find people who are burning and put a stop to it.

Burning during the ban will result in a fine, and the Clean Air Agency says that the price of the fine varies on the severity of the burning. But besides enforcing, they are also helping.

"We also provide some incentives for people that want to change out old, uncertified wood burning devices," said Edler.

The agency has a reimbursement program, and if qualified, they will replace a wood burning device for free.

They hope that weather conditions change over the next few days so the ban can be lifted and people can burn on Christmas.