October 19, 2022
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 10, working with tribal air staff, has issued an air quality advisory and a ban on open burning on the Yakama Reservation due to the elevated pollution levels caused by regional fires. Weather forecasts indicate poor air quality will continue until Friday. This burn ban begins immediately and is in effect until noon on Friday.
The burn ban applies to all outdoor burning – including agricultural, camping and recreational fires – in all areas within external reservation boundaries regardless of ownership or tribal membership. Ceremonial and traditional fires are exempt from the burn ban. Burn bans for fire safety may also be in effect.
Air pollution can harm health and may have lasting effects. To protect vulnerable people, EPA requests that reservation residents reduce all additional sources of air pollution, such as automobile exhaust, as much as possible.
People who are at greater risk from the effects of smoke include those with heart disease or lung disease, older adults, children, and pregnant people. These sensitive groups should avoid outdoor exertion and minimize exposure to smoke as much as possible.
As smoke levels may be variable during this time period, regularly check current air quality conditions at https://fire.airnow.gov/. Take advantage of periods of better air quality for exercise or outdoor activities. If pollution levels increase, the EPA recommends restricting outdoor activity and using N95 masks when outdoor activity is necessary. To reduce exposure to smoke indoors, create and spend time in a clean air room. For more safety tips visit https://www.airnow.gov/wildfires/when-smoke-is-in-the-air/.
When air quality is expected to remain poor for more than 24 hours, the EPA declares a ban on open burning to prevent further deterioration of air quality and associated impacts on human health. Air quality conditions are influenced by factors such as wind, temperature, and time of day, as well as the location, size, and control strategy for regional wildfires. EPA scientists use weather forecasts, satellite pictures, fire incident reports, and air quality models to forecast air quality for tribal communities and predict when burn bans should be declared.
For current burn ban status on tribal lands, please call the EPA FARR Hotline at 1-800-424-4372, or visit
https://www.epa.gov/farr/burn-bans-indian-reservations-id-or-and-wa#current-bans. For burning restrictions in areas outside reservation boundaries, please contact your local clean air agency or fire department. For smoke and fire information in Washington information visit https://enviwa.ecology.wa.gov/home/text/426#BurnBans