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Burn ban in effect as air quality concerns continue

Published on

Tara Jeffrey

Sarnia’s fire chief is instituting a temporary ban on all open-air burning in response to high levels of air pollution expected to continue this week.

“Out of an abundance of caution for the health of our residents, a temporary ban will help us limit further impacts to air quality as the province and city contend with continued air pollution, resulting from wildfires in northeastern Ontario and Quebec,” Chief Bryan Van Gaver said in a news release, Thursday.

“Sarnia Fire Rescue will continue to monitor air quality conditions daily and will left the ban when current air pollution levels have decreased to an appropriate level.”

Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for Sarnia-Lambton, as high levels of air pollution and deteriorated air quality are expected to persist into the weekend. Residents are being warned that wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone’s health, even at low concentrations.

Meanwhile, Lambton Public Health is encouraging high-risk individuals (children, older adults, pregnant individuals, people with chronic health conditions and people who work outdoors) to monitor for medical symptoms such as irritated eyes, increased mucus and difficulty breathing.

Additional tips to help your body cope with wildfire smoke and to prevent negative health impacts include:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water;
  • Reduce motorized vehicle use and take extra precaution if you live or work near Highway 402 as air quality is affected by traffic and prevailing wind conditions;
  • If possible, set your HVAC to recirculate air or use a portable HEPA air cleaner and keep windows closed if the temperature is not too hot.
  • Take care of your mental health. It is not unusual to feel anxious or stressed during poor air quality events. Local mental health supports are available at AgeFriendly Sarnia-Lambton

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