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COVID-19 brings burning ban to Clearwater and area

The reason for the ban is to help reduce excess air pollution in populated air-sheds

By Star/Journal staff

No open burning will be allowed in the areas around Barriere, Clearwater and Blue River until April 15.

The reason for the fire ban is to help reduce excess air pollution in populated air-sheds across the province, including those in the North Thompson Valley.

The ban means that no new fires may be started and no additional material may be added to existing fires.

BC Centre for Disease Control says there is strong evidence that exposure to air pollution increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections by decreasing immune function. This means that:

• Deterioration of air quality may lead to more COVID-19 infections overall;

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

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

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

That is because evidence suggests that air pollution, particularly from vehicle emissions and biomass burning, is most strongly associated with an increased risk of viral infection.

The open burning restriction is being implemented by B.C.’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

The areas to which the restriction applies will be evaluated daily and they may grow or diminish accordingly.

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