Regional fire departments have issued information around burning restrictions in light of COVID-19. File photo

Comox Valley fire departments bring in open fire restrictions

Regional approach aimed at supporting air quality during pandemic

Comox Valley fire departments are bringing in open fire restrictions throughout the area as of April 1 in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Open fires will be banned and fire permits will no longer be issued, with the exception of backyard fires and campfires in specific fire protection areas.

Courtenay Fire Department – no open burning after April 1st in the following areas:

Courtenay Fire Protection District

Merville Fire Protection District

Tsolum-Farnham Fire Protection District

City of Courtenay (open burning banned year-round)

Comox Fire Department – no open burning after April 1 in the following areas:

Comox Fire Protection District

Town of Comox (open burning banned year-round)

Cumberland Fire Department – recreational backyard fires and campfires allowed

Oyster River Fire Department – recreational back yard fires and campfires allowed

Union Bay Fire Department – campfires allowed

Fanny Bay Fire Department – recreational back yard fires and campfires allowed

Ships Point Volunteer Fire Department – recreational back yard fires and campfires allowed

Denman Island Fire Department – only campfires allowed

Hornby Island Fire Department – recreational back yard fires and campfires allowed

“We know COVID-19 is a severe respiratory illness,” CVRD board chair and EOC spokesperson Jesse Ketler said in a news release. “One of the reasons our fire departments have taken this coordinated approach is to support our region’s air quality. As a community, it’s also vital that we support our first responders. Banning open burning will limit the need for site visits and inspections, and reduce the potential for wildfires. Let’s protect our firefighters so they in turn can help us when we truly need it.

“I also want to reinforce the need for everyone to stay home, and limit essential trips to your own neighbourhoods as much as possible,” she added. “This is not the time to drive to Cumberland, or our Comox Valley beaches. Denman and Hornby Islands have already asked visitors to stay away – not just to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but to avoid draining their resources, including groceries and water.”

RELATED STORY: Province’s new burning rules part of the Comox Valley clean air puzzle

Residents are encouraged to please follow the CVRD social media channels @comoxvalleyrd on Facebook and Twitter, as well as visiting the CVRD website to remain up to date on accurate information. All Comox Valley local governments are centralizing regional COVID-19 information through these channels. The Emergency Operations Centre is standing by to support the lead agencies, Ministry of Health and Island Health, if requested at the federal and provincial level.

The Emergency Operations team with representatives from the DND/19-Wing Comox, K’ómoks First Nation, CVRD, City of Courtenay, Town of Comox, Village of Cumberland, Fire Chiefs Association and many other external agencies and organizations are working together to collaborate on response measures and best practices for the region.

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