An individual in the town of Methow was fined by the state Department of Ecology for burning leaves, twigs and garbage last winter during a ban on outdoor burning.
Ecology fined Eric Zahn $2,175 after investigating a complaint of nuisance smoke. The investigator found the fire unattended, according to Joye Redfield-Wilder, communications manager for Ecology. The fine has been paid.
The fine was one of 18 issued by the agency in the third quarter, a total of more that $400,000. It was the only penalty in Okanogan County.
The fines ranged from $1,100 to $86,000. BNSF Railway was fined $86,000 for placing creosote-treated railroad ties and other materials from maintenance projects in water bodies in Whatcom and Skagit counties.
Ecology issues penalties for serious violations of laws that protect air and water quality and public health, or where an individual or business has not complied even after technical assistance or warnings, according to the agency. Penalties are aimed at correcting environmental violations and deterring future violations.
The amount of a fine is based on the severity of the violation, whether it was due to negligence or was intentional, prior behavior of the violator, and the violator’s cooperation in working toward compliance.
The money goes into the state’s general fund or to dedicated pollution-prevention accounts.