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BBQ ban returns along with smoky haze over Puget Sound

The smoky sky filters the evening sun on Friday night during wildfire season 2017. (Reader submitted photo)

Put those charcoal grills away, again. The Puget Sound Clear Air Agency says a new air quality burn ban is in effect for the Puget Sound region.

King, Pierce, Kitsap and Snohomish Counties are now under a stage 1 burn ban until further notice because of the smokey haze that has settled back over the area. The ban means no charcoal barbecues or similar solid fuel devices, no campfires or bonfires, no fire pits, and no agricultural fires.

RELATED: How to beat poor air quality amid Western Washington smoky haze

The agency says air quality should improve by Thursday and be back to normal by this weekend.

The ban comes as air quality in many locations around Puget Sound dropped to “moderate” or worse Tuesday. As of 8 a.m., many areas of Seattle and Tacoma were considered as “moderate” or unhealthy for sensitive groups, according to the Air Quality Index.

An Air Quality Alert continues through noon on Thursday.

Erik Saganic, Air Resources Specialist with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, warns residents may need to take precautions as pollution from the B.C. wildfires continues to be pushed south.

Saganic says we could see even more wildfire smoke build by Wednesday.

Forecasters say we have until the end of this week before the weather changes and the wildfire smoke clears.

Check the latest air quality index here.

KIRO 7 reports there are indications that our weather will change beginning this weekend as clouds roll in temperatures cool. There is a possibility of light rain showers.

KIRO 7 meteorologist Kelly Franson says an upper-level ridge will move east of our region, which will also lead to southwesterly winds that could clear out smoke.

A long-term outlook doesn’t indicate a reversal to our current dry weather pattern. On Tuesday, Sea-Tac broke a 66-year-old record as we entered the 52nd day without measurable rain.

Cliff Mass, Atmospheric Sciences professor at the University of Washington, briefly addressed suggestions that the warm, smoky period is a sign of global warming. “I believe that many of them are seriously stretching the facts and trying to simplify a complex situation,” Mass wrote.

He promised to get into it more this week, but in short:

–Some global warming activists are “happy to ignore” that forests have been mismanaged in the past.

–Wildfire is a natural part of healthy forests.

–More humans with flammable items is a factor.

–And the “meteorological situation of this event is not one of uniform warming, but localized warming.”

Mass pointed out that human-responsible climate change has warmed the temperature by 1 degree (F) in our region. The recent weather is responsible for a 15-20 degree anomaly.

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