Open burning has been banned in areas considered high smoke sensitivity zones across the province.

Fire restrictions in place for high smoke sensitivity zones

The province has issued open burning ban for high smoke sensitivity zones across B.C. until the middle of April in response to concerns that elevated smoke levels might help spread COVID-19.

The ban is in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as officials point to evidence that elevated exposure to air pollutants increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections.

Those high smoke sensitivity zones include Cranbrook, Kimberley and the surrounding rural areas, including Ta Ta Creek and Canal Flats, Jaffray and Galloway, down to Yahk.

Evidence suggests that air pollution from combustion sources is most strongly associated with increased risk of viral infection, particularly vehicle emissions and biomass burning,” reads a statement from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

“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 open burning restrictions will be reviewed on a daily basis, and areas where restrictions apply may grow or diminish accordingly, based on the statement from the ministry.

An open fire (Category 3) is defined as one that burns material in three or more piles each not exceeding two metres in height and three metres in width; burning material in one or more piles each exceeding two metres in height and three metres in width; one or more windrows; stubble or grass over an area exceeding 0.2 hectares.

For detailed areas on open burning restrictions, check out the map.

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