YAKIMA - This morning's (Monday) rain shower has helped, but is not enough to lift a burn ban issued this past Friday by the state Department of Ecology.
The ban covers most of Eastern Washington, according to a spokesperson from the Yakima County Regional Clear Air Authority, but it is expected to be lifted later today if the current weather patterns remain strong.
The Eastern Washington burn ban was put into place because of a high-pressure weather system that has covered much of Eastern Washington for several days creating a build-up of air pollution. Much of the air pollution is being caused from outdoor burning and wood stoves.
Today's change in the weather is expected to move through the area improving air circulation.
The unseasonably warm weather had caused people to head outdoors to begin their spring yard work and burning of their garden waste, said Glenn Kuper, an Ecology spokesperson.
He recommends residents find alternatives to burning, such as composting, chipping and mulching.
"If residents must burn, wait until the air quality has improved," he said.
The state Department of Ecology also recommends that children, the elderly and those with respiratory ailments consider limited their outdoor activities until the air clears.