The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment urged Coloradans not to engage in open burning activities during the current COVID-19 response.

In a press release, the department said coronavirus poses a particular threat to individuals with histories of heart and/or respiratory illness. Smoke from open burns could strain already vulnerable populations.

Open burning is defined as any outdoor fire where smoke is released directly into the air without first passing through a chimney or smokestack.

Salida Fire Chief Doug Bess said because no open burning is allowed in Salida already, enforcement should not affect daily functions. Regarding surrounding rural areas, he said agricultural burns will be allowed within the South Arkansas Fire Protection District when conditions allow.

State air quality officials will monitor the virus response and will issue additional guidance or restrictions based on available information.

“In this challenging time, it’s important that we look out for each other,” said Scott Landes, air quality meteorologist at the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division. “We are strongly urging Coloradans to hold off on open burning while the state responds to the COVID-19 virus. Please be considerate of your neighbors, especially those who are in uniquely vulnerable populations.”

The state requires a permit before engaging in open burning. Details on permit requirements can be found at colorado.gov/cdphe.

From our sister paper The Mountain Mail at www.themountainmail.com

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