The Southwest Clean Air Agency (SWCAA) is responsible for enforcing federal, state and local outdoor air quality standards and regulations in Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties of southwest Washington state. Our mission is to preserve and enhance air quality in southwest Washington.
SAFETY BURN BAN STATUS
Stage 2 Burn Ban in Effect in Clark County
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - The use of all fireplaces, inserts, wood stoves and pellet stoves is prohibited until air quality improves. Households without an alternative source of heat are exempt. All outdoor burning is also banned.
Due to cold weather and an extended air stagnation forecast and persistent high levels of fine particle air pollution in Clark County, the Southwest Clean Air Agency (SWCAA) is issuing a Stage 2 Burn Ban effective immediately throughout Clark County. Continued cold evenings and evening-to-morning inversions followed by limited daytime ventilation and dispersion have caused fine particle air pollution levels to rise to the federal health-based standard. These stagnant conditions are now forecast to continue into Thursday. The use of all fireplaces, wood stoves and inserts, and pellet stoves is prohibited until air quality improves and the Stage 2 Burn Ban is lifted. If wood burning is your only source of heat, you are exempt from this curtailment and we ask that you burn as clean as possible. All outdoor burning is also prohibited during this Stage 2 Burn Ban.
Air quality driven burn ban curtailments occur in two progressive stages as needed: Stage 1: The use of all fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves and inserts is banned when pollution is forecasted to reach unhealthy levels. Uncertified units are typically older than 1990 and lack a certification label on the back of the unit.
Stage 2: All wood heating is prohibited, including certified units, when the Stage 1 curtailment has not reversed the increasing pollution trend and weather conditions still indicate a high risk for exceeding air quality health standards. Overnight on Saturday December 7, 2013 the fine particulate matter levels exceeded the federal health-based ambient air quality standard because of woodstove use, stagnant air conditions, clear skies and cold evenings. The National Weather Service has forecast similar conditions for the next few days. While there has been some clearing during the day, the cold stagnant conditions in the evenings and woodstove use overnight have resulted in sustained high particulate matter levels. "We are hopeful that calling this Stage 2 curtailment will moderate ambient levels of fine particulate matter as the cold evenings, clear skies and air stagnation in Clark County continues into Thursday," said Bob Elliott, executive director for the agency. "We are not asking anyone to go without heat, but to use an alternative source of heat if possible until weather patterns change and our air quality returns to healthy levels."
Air pollution at the level Clark County is currently experiencing is of particular concern for people with heart and lung problems, children, and adults over 65. The Washington State Department of Health recommends that people who are sensitive to air pollution limit time spent outdoors. Fine particulate matter pollution in smoke released from wood stoves, fireplaces and other wood burning activities are of concern because they can reach deep into the lungs. Episodes of high fine particle pollution can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing and make lung and heart problems worse.
The purpose of a burn ban is to reduce the amount of pollution that is creating unhealthy air. The cumulative effect of each individual's wood stove use during these cold stagnant periods can cause pollution levels to rise to unhealthy levels, even impacting those who do not already have respiratory problems. The Southwest Clean Air Agency wants to remind people who burn wood, whether occasionally or often, that it is important to always check burn ban status before lighting a fire and to obey burn bans. Again, please rely on your home's cleaner source of heat until air quality returns to healthy levels.
This county wide Stage 2 Burn Ban will remain in effect until our monitors show demonstrated improvement in our air quality and weather forecasts indicate improved ventilation. # # # For more information contact:
Randy Peltier, Operations Manager Paul Mairose, Chief Engineer Southwest Clean Air Agency Southwest Clean Air Agency 360-574-3058 ext 122 360-574-3058 ext 130 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
SWCAA Woodstove Replacement Program
Saturday, June 01, 2013 - Woodstove Replacement Program now includes Vancouver Urban Growth Boundary!!!
Sunday, October 13, 2013 - You can tell fall is in the air with the crisp mornings and cold evenings. This means the leaves are turning and starting to fall into our yards, streets and coating our neighborhoods. There are options for air friendly and healthy ways to dispose of those pesky leaves and other fall yard clean-up debris.
You can put leaves and yard debris in your recycle bin for pick up, chip it or compost it. If you have curbside recycling service in your neighborhood and have not signed up; now is the time. If you do not have curbside service, consider easy backyard composting, or haul the debris to your nearest recycling facility.
To help residents take care of the fallen leaves, the City of Vancouver is again offering Fall Leaf Coupons. Vancouver and Clark County Residents can redeem the free leaf disposal coupons beginning October 1 through December 20. Please note that this coupon is for LEAVES ONLY.
Call today to have your coupon mailed out; or stop by and pick one up at SWCAAs office. We are conveniently located close to H & H Wood Recyclers and McFarlanes Bark, both of whom are participating in this program.
Remember no matter what option you choose, there are two things to keep in mind: (1) it is illegal to smoke out your neighbors, and (2) outdoor burning is permanently banned in urbanized areas (incorporated cities, suburbs and adjacent areas) throughout our region. If in doubt, call SWCAA at 360-574-3058 x 110.
CLEAN AIR TIPS
Get Your Home Ready for Cooler Weather
Sunday, December 01, 2013 - The coming cold weather means it is time to weatherize your house for energy savings and comfort.
Energy-efficient windows can reduce heating and cooling costs by 20 to 30 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Energy-efficient double-paned windows are the ultimate solution, but there are other steps that will reduce heat loss. Check windows for leaks by turning off all heating, cooling or ventilating systems, then carefully holding a lit candle four to six inches from the frame. If the flame wavers or flickers, you have air leaks. Inspect exterior calking for cracks or gaps. If the leak persists after resealing, call a professional. Cover the outside of the windows with heavy plastic or place shrink plastic on the inside. Read instructions that come with these materials for the best applications or talk with a hardware store expert. Blinds or window coverings also can help insulate your house by preventing warm air from escaping at night. Open blinds during the day to let in light and capture heat.
Click to read more information on getting your home ready for cooler weather. Read More...