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

Scotiabank helps hockey at home

Alberni Valley Minor Hockey Association’s annual donation helps peewee teams

Agricultural Land Commission letter could halt operations at McLean Mill

National historic site near Port Alberni set to host a number of events if COVID-19 doesn’t interrupt

Mural planned for entrance to Port Alberni’s Harbour Quay

Arrowsmith Rotary project falls under the theme ‘building relationships’

City of Port Alberni to review 2020 budget in response to COVID-19

Deadline for final budget adoption is May 15

Alberni school district takes a week off to plan for online education

All buildings and playgrounds in School District 70 closed to the public

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

World COVID-19 update: NATO suspicious of Russian military drills; Cruise ships ordered to stay at sea

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world for Wednesday, April 1

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Most Read