Open burning permits in Electoral Areas B and C of the Regional District of North Okanagan have been canceled in efforts to help in the fight against COVID-19. (File photo)

Burning permits doused in pair of North Okanagan electoral areas

Regional District of North Okanagan Areas B and C cancel permits to combat COVID-19 virus

All open burning permits issued by the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) for the fire protection areas of Electoral Areas B (Swan Lake) and C (BX-Silver Star) are cancelled.

The RDNO will revisit the issue after April 15.

Open burning permits are not required for small confined fires (campfires) that are under half a metre in diameter, but the RDNO encourages people to reduce their backyard fires as even small fires add to air pollution.

The RDNO does not regulate burning outside of the fire protection areas of Electoral Areas B and C, or in Electoral Areas D, E and F. However, these areas still must comply with the provincial restrictions.

“We made the decision to cancel the open burn permits to follow the recommendations of the BC Centre for Disease Control,” Electoral Area B director Bob Fleming said.

Added Area C director Amanda Shatzko: “It is important for us to take science-based actions that benefit the health of our community, and especially so during a global pandemic. Remember, we are all in this together.”

READ MORE: Bi-weekly trash pickups enough: Regional District of North Okanagan director

According to the BC Centre for Disease Control:

As cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in British Columbia continue to increase, the BC Centre for Disease Control recommends implementing measures that help to reduce excess air pollution. There is strong evidence that exposure to air pollution increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections by decreasing immune function. 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 the health-care system, and;
  • Improvements to air quality may help to protect the whole population from COVID-19 and its potentially severe effects.

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