The Columbia Shuswap Regional District is reminding residents there are alternatives to burning yard and garden waste.
On Thursday, March 26, the B.C. government announced open burning restrictions for all high smoke sensitivity zones throughout the province, including the Shuswap. The restrictions mean no new fires may be initiated and no additional materials may be added to existing fires.
The restrictions, to remain in place until Wednesday, April 15, are intended to reduce risk of infection from COVID-19.
“There is strong evidence that exposure to air pollution increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections by decreasing immune function,” said Daniel Bings, with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy stated in a March 26 release.
The release noted deterioration of air quality may lead to more COVID-19 infections, or more cases of severe infection.
Open burning does not include campfires, but pertains to burns with material piled two metres high by three metres wide or larger. Open burn restrictions also apply areas of grass.
The CSRD asks that all residents do their part in protecting people’s health and abide by the restrictions. As an alternative, the CSRD provides free disposal of household yard and garden waste at all of its landfills and transfer stations.
“So there’s no need to burn this type of waste,” states the CSRD.
The CSRD adds residents wishing to report a violation can do so through the province’s RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.