Open Burning Season Ended May 1
PLYMOUTH — Chief G. Edward Bradley would like to advise residents to avoid non-essential burning following the end of Open Burning Season as smoke is an irritant for those with symptoms of or who are recovering from COVID-19.
As warmer weather approaches, more people are expected to have cooking fires or bonfires, especially around the Memorial Day and July 4 holidays. The Plymouth Fire Department asks that residents refrain from outdoor burning while communities are still responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We ask that our residents be mindful of those sick with respiratory illnesses or COVID-19,” said Chief Bradley. “Smoke resulting from fires can be an irritant to those with prior illnesses and may pose further health risks for them. Additionally, smoke inhalation can result in upper respiratory symptoms, which could be incorrectly attributed to COVID-19, resulting in unnecessary testing or self-isolation.”
Fever, cough and difficulty breathing are the most common symptoms of COVID-19. While some people with COVID-19 are hospitalized, many patients recover at home, where smoke from a nearby outdoor fire could worsen their condition. To avoid additional health impacts, all residents are asked to refrain from conducting outdoor burning activities until further notice.
The Plymouth Fire Department would like to remind residents that:
- Exposure to smoke and other forms of air pollution can increase the risk of contracting infectious respiratory disease such as COVID-19, increase the severity of existing respiratory infections and worsen underlying chronic respiratory conditions.
- There is a severe shortage of personal protective equipment to prevent smoke exposure at this time.
- First responders and other emergency services are operating at a reduced capacity and have limited resources to respond to out-of-control burns. Residents should be mindful of this while creating a fire.
During this time of year, the department typically receives an increase in calls regarding fire nuisances. In Massachusetts, state law requires any smoke from a fire that is deemed a nuisance or that bothers others to be extinguished.
Last year, during the time period from January to June, the department responded to 137 calls for “unauthorized burning” complaints. The department expects to see an increase in complaints this year due to COVID-19. Residents are asked to be mindful of this while the department operates during these unprecedented times.
Anyone with questions or concerns should contact the Plymouth Fire Department at 508-830-4213.