BOISE - The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), and Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) is asking the public to refrain from all nonessential open burning activities if possible as communities respond to the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Open burning is currently NOT prohibited in Lewis, Latah or Nez Perce County, but it is suggested to refrain for the time being.
The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 affects the respiratory system (nose, throat, and lungs) and gastrointestinal system. It can cause asthma attacks and can lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory distress. People with asthma are recommended to avoid asthma triggers such as smoke from burning wood or other plants.
To avoid additional health impacts, the public should take standard preventative measures to protect their health from smoke exposure and refrain from residential open burning (tree limbs, leaves, yard trimmings, garden waste, burn barrels and fire pits) and other nonessential open burning activities until further notice. If open burning is essential, please follow best smoke management practices.
Smoke from open burning can cause unnecessary public health and safety concerns and impact local service providers:
- Smoke inhalation can cause upper respiratory symptoms, which could be incorrectly attributed to COVID-19
- Smoke exposure impacts can lead to unnecessary testing or self-isolation
- First responders and other emergency services are operating at a reduced capacity and have limited resources to respond to out-of-control burns
- Personal protective equipment to reduce smoke exposure is not readily available at this time