The most populated areas in the Cariboo are under an open burning restriction.
The ban was issued for all high smoke sensitivity zones in B.C. and will remain in place until April 15 by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in collaboration with provincial public health partners.
“No new fires may be initiated and no additional material may be added to existing fires.”
The ban comes after a recommendation by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) to implement measures that help to reduce excess air pollution in populated airsheds across the province.
There is strong evidence that exposure to air pollution increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections by decreasing immune function, according to the BCCDC. 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. 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.”
The restrictions will be evaluated on a daily basis; the area to which they apply may grow or diminish accordingly, according to the Ministry.