Areas in yellow indicate high smoke sensitivity areas where open burning restrictions are in place to decrease susceptibility to COVID-19. (Interactive Venting Index)

Increased coronavirus cases spark B.C.-wide burning restrictions

Centre for Disease Control recommends measure to reduce excess air pollution

Efforts are underway to clear the air and protect all B.C. residents from COVID-19.

Open burning restrictions have been issued across British Columbia’s high smoke sensitivity zones, which include the Okanagan.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in collaboration with provincial public health partners has issued the restrictions until Wednesday, April 15. No new fires may be initiated and no additional material may be added to existing fires. A map of affected areas is shown in yellow in Figure 1 and a high resolution image can be accessed on the provincial Interactive Venting Index webpage.

As cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in B.C. continue to increase, the BC Centre for Disease Control recommends implementing measures that help to reduce excess air pollution in populated airsheds across the province.

READ MORE: COVID-19 cases march higher despite restrictions and threats of punishment

“There is strong evidence that exposure to air pollution increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections by decreasing immune function,” said Daniel Bings, with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

This means that:

• Deterioration in air quality may lead to more COVID-19 infections overall,

• Deterioration in air quality may lead to more cases of severe COVID-19 infections, adding further demand to our healthcare system, and

• Improvements to air quality may help to protect the whole population from COVID-19 and its potentially severe effects.

“Evidence suggests that air pollution from combustion sources is most strongly associated with increased risk of viral infection, particularly vehicle emissions and biomass burning.,” said Bings in a release.

At this time the BC Centre for Disease Control strongly recommends that open burning of biomass fuels be restricted in areas with high or moderate risk of population exposure to the resulting smoke.

“While the focus should remain on social distancing to prevent the spread of infection and reduce the number of cases, keeping our air as clean as possible will also help to protect the population during this difficult period.”

For this reason The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is restricting open burning in some parts of the province. These restrictions will be evaluated on a daily basis; the area to which they apply may grow or diminish accordingly.

READ MORE: Air clears in Vernon, dust advisory lifted


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirusfire ban

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trailer severely damaged in Sunday morning fire in downtown Chilliwack

Two people were sleeping in the trailer at the time, but they managed to get out with their dog

Mayor reacts to suggestion to ship those in quarantine from the DTES to Chilliwack

‘People do best when they stay where they have supports already in place,’ stated Chilliwack mayor

Chilliwack councillor has a message to share amid this time of fear: ‘there is hope’

‘I realize there’s much more than fear and worry… there is new life and there is community’: Jason Lum

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Small Chilliwack grocery business offering free home delivery during COVID-19 pandemic

Dickens Sweets taking over-the-phone orders, won’t be charging to deliver it right to your doorstep

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

Most Read