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

Just Posted

Couple home safe after COVID-19 lockdown in Peru

Cortney Pitts and Maxime Patenaude “won the lottery” to get to come home from Peru.

Back in print

We are pleased to announce that the April 9 issue of the Pioneer will be available in print.

Foodbanking in the time of COVID-19

Local food bank needs are high, but Lawrie Mack said: “there is hope to counter the gloom.”

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

The Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The Okanagan Correctional Centre inmate is receiving appropriate care

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Most Read