Open-burning restrictions have been extended by the Regional District of North Okanagan, in line with province-wide efforts to help in the fight against COVID-19. (File photo)

Open burning still cancelled, North Okanagan district says

Regional District of North Okanagan extends cancellation of open burning permits

The Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) has extended its cancellation of open burning permits until further notice, in line with a province-wide effort to protect air quality amid COVID-19.

On March 30 the district cancelled permits in the fire protection zones of Electoral Areas B (Swan Lake) and C (BX-Silver Star) until April 15.

After revisiting the issue, the RDNO is staying in line with the B.C. government’s direction on open burning.

“The decision to extend the cancellation follows the province-wide ban on open burning that will be in place on April 16,” said Amanda Shatzko, Electoral Area C Director.

Wood-burning campfires have not been banned, but are discouraged due to their effects on air pollution.

“According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, deterioration in air quality may lead to more COVID-19 infections overall, so this is an obvious step to improve air quality in these times,” said Bob Fleming, Electoral Area B Director. “Doing everything we can to help keep our neighbours and community safe is of the utmost importance.”

Reports of non-compliance should be reported to the province at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cell phone. More details can be found on the B.C. government website.

The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends implementing measures to reduce excess air pollution while cases of the novel coronavirus continue to increase in the province. The provincial health services authority says deterioration in air quality may lead to more overall infections, more severe cases and greater strain on the healthcare system.

READ MORE: Leaf pick-up springs into action in Vernon

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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