Unpromising weather forecasts prompted the Washington Department of Ecology to impose Stage 1 burn bans for Okanogan, Kittitas, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Asotin and Walla Walla counties beginning at 4 p.m. on Tuesday (Dec. 24).

“A ridge of high pressure is expected to set up Christmas day onward, leading to light winds and poor dispersion,” said atmospheric scientist Ranil Dhammapala, with Ecology’s air quality program. “Typically a lot more woodstoves and fireplaces are used during holiday festivities. Unfortunately, the weather isn’t helping to prevent smoke from pooling in these communities. So steps need to taken to reduce wood burning activities.”

Dispersion is expected to worsen over Christmas and lead to poor air quality later in the week, Ecology said.

A Stage 1 ban applies to all outdoor burning, including residential, agricultural and forest burning. The use of uncertified wood-burning devices — including fireplaces, wood stoves and inserts — is prohibited unless they are a home’s only adequate source of heat. Certified wood-burning devices and pellet stoves are allowed.

For burn ban updates, go online to  www.waburnbans.net.