Fire ban (File photo)

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows issue fire bans

Cities say poor air quality from smoke could further exacerbate current COVID-19 climate

While roasting marshmallows over a crackling camp fire is one of the most welcome activities in spring, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows residents will have to wait a couple months to do so.

“The City of Maple Ridge has its own Outdoor Burning Regulation Bylaw and we are suspending the sales and issuance of backyard burning permits and banning recreational fires – a.k.a. campfires – as well,” said City of Maple Ridge fire chief, Howard Exner.

Effective as of March 31, the city has enacted, and will be enforcing, an open air burning ban as part of the local COVID-19 health emergency response.

READ MORE: Should B.C. already be implementing province-wide fire bans?

Dr. Bonnie Henry has requested fire bans in aid of people infected with COVID-19 which results in a severe respiratory infection.

Open air burning restrictions for all high smoke sensitivity zones across the province and in Metro Vancouver municipalities will be in place until further notice.

Key points from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control regarding pollutants and respiratory viral infections include:

  • 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 health care system, and
  • Improvements to air quality may help to protect the whole population from COVID-19 and its potentially severe effects.

The city said the fire ban will be enforced and could lead to fines of up to $1,000.

The City of Pitt Meadows used their Facebook page to alert residents that the spring burning season (March 1 – May 31) has been suspended, effective as of March 27.

“Any form of agricultural burning will not be permitted,” they wrote.

“The smoke from agricultural burning may worsen health issues and endanger the welfare of our public during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“Open wood burning is also not permitted at anytime, or anywhere in urban areas in Pitt Meadows as per Bylaw No.2688,” the note continued.

“This includes outdoor fireplaces and cooking pits.”

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