Persistent air stagnation across the region has the Southwest Clean Air Agency imposing a Stage 1 Burn Ban in Cowlitz, Lewis and Clark Counties, effective immediately and in place until further notice. Under this ban, the use of fireplaces, uncertified wood stoves and inserts is prohibited until air quality improves and the ban is lifted. If burning of wood is your only source of heat, then you are exempt, and they ask that you burn as clean as possible. All outdoor burning is also banned at this time. Forecasters say that they expect the stagnation to remain in place until the middle of next week. They also say that if air quality continues to deteriorate, then they could move to a Stage 2 Burn Ban, which would apply to additional wood-burning devices. You can find out more about the Burn Ban and the current air quality situation by going to the agency’s website, at www.swcleanair.org.