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Air quality alert issued for Columbia Valley residents

The highlighted area, which is defined as an Urban Growth Area, within Columbia Valley is part of the area where an air quality alert has been issued to residents who burn wood to heat their homes. Residents have been advised to not burn wood through at least Tuesday.
The highlighted area, which is defined as an Urban Growth Area, within Columbia Valley is part of the area where an air quality alert has been issued to residents who burn wood to heat their homes. Residents have been advised to not burn wood through at least Tuesday. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Residents in the Columbia Valley area of Whatcom County are advised to avoid or limit burning wood for heat through the weekend due to elevated smoke levels that are impacting the local air quality, according to a news release from the Northwest Clean Air Agency.

Air monitors showed elevated levels of fine particles Thursday night into Friday morning in the Columbia Valley, near Kendall. The air quality was rated good at about 4 p.m. Friday, according to Northwest Clear Air’s website.

Burning wood for home heating in cold, stagnant air conditions can produce smoke pollution that’s harmful to the occupants and neighbors, especially if the burning is not done properly, the release indicated. The fine particles in smoke are harmful because they can be inhaled deeply into the lungs and damage tissues.

Cold temperatures and stagnant air conditions are expected to last through Tuesday.

Residents who need to burn wood to heat their home are urged to only burn small, hot fires, and check the chimney 20 minutes after a fire is lit to make sure it’s not just smoke, the release said. Also, don’t let fires smolder overnight.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt

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