Effective immediately, Maple Ridge has enacted, and will be enforcing, aCity wide fire ban in support of Metro Vancouver, BC Ministry of Environment, BC Ministry of Health and Climate Change Strategy, BC. This order has been enacted by the City of Maple Ridge’s Emergency Operations Centre as part of the local COVID-19 health emergency response.
The Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, through the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), 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. Some key points from the BCCDC regarding pollutants and respiratory viral infections:
- 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.
These measures are being put in place to help reduce excessive air pollution in the high risk air sheds across the province and in particular the Lower Mainland. Studies have shown air pollution increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections (COVID -19) by decreasing immune function leading to more severe effects.
Back yard fire permits will not be issued and, effective immediately, there will be a COMPLETE FIRE BAN until further notice. This includes ALL recreational fires.
This fire ban will be enforced and could lead to fines of up to $1,000. We ask that citizens do their part during the COVID-19 health emergency and refrain from having any fires.
Here some FAQs regarding the City wide open air burning ban:
- Does the City wide burning ban include propane fire pits?
The open air city wide burning ban refers to the Outdoor Burning Regulation Bylaw only. The goal of the ban is to control smoke particulates in the air that could exacerbate COVID-19 symptoms. The ban does not include CSA/ULC certified propane/natural gas appliances.
- Who should I contact if I witness somebody defying the fire ban?
Witness can contact the fire department’s non-emergency line at 604 463-5880 to report a burning complaint. After hours callers are directed to push “1” to go to fire dispatch non-emergency. If you feel comfortable, we also encourage our citizen’s to help educate the public and make others aware that the fire ban is on. Not everyone may be immediately aware of current fire restrictions.
- Does the City wide open air burning ban apply to Whonnock?
Yes, Whonnock, as well as all other parts of Maple Ridge are subject to the fire ban.
- Can I still use my BBQ?
In keeping with the intentions behind the fire ban, to reduce irritant smoke particulates, it would be neighbourly to hold off on briquette BBQ for the time being.
- Can I use my fireplace?
If you have a wood burning fireplace and the chimney has had its yearly inspection along with the proper maintenance, then it is ok to use. However, in keeping with the intentions behind the fire ban, to reduce irritant smoke particulates, it would be neighbourly to hold off on recreational fires for the time being.