An open burning ban effective immediately has been ordered by Penticton’s fire chief. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control recommends measures are implemented to help reduce excess air pollution as deterioration in air quality may lead to more COVID-19 cases and to more severe infections. (File photo)

COVID-19: City of Penticton bans open burning until further notice

Fire ban being put in place to minimize ‘potentially severe’ effects of COVID-19

Less than 10 days before a province-wide ban on open burning comes into effect, the City of Penticton has announced its burning ban effective immediately.

Penticton’s fire chief has ordered there be no open burning within city boundaries until further notice.

READ MORE: B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

The fire ban is being put into effect as the there is strong evidence that exposure to air pollution increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections by decreasing immune function, thus making people more prone to complications from COVID-19.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is recommending that these measures are implemented to help reduce excess air pollution in populated areas across the province.

The BCCDC suggests that deterioration in air quality may lead to more COVID-19 infections overall and more cases of severe COVID-19 infections.

“Improvements to air quality may help to protect the whole population from COVID-19 and its potentially severe effects,” reads a release from the City of Penticton.

The burn ban has also been implemented to reduce demands on firefighting resources and help protect the health and safety of the public, as well as firefighting staff.

“Typically, human-caused fires are more common in the spring due to field and debris burning. By enacting an earlier burning prohibition, there is an anticipated reduction in human-caused wildfires. This will minimize the need to deploy staff which helps to reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19,” stated the City of Penticton.

The ban includes the use of backyard fire pits, category two and three open fires, resource management open fires, the use of fireworks, the use of sky lanterns, and the use of any form of burn barrels or burn cages.

READ MORE: Increased coronavirus cases spark B.C.-wide burning restrictions

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