City of Washington temporarily bans open burning

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WASHINGTON, Ill. (WMBD)– Mayor Gary Manier banned open burning in the City of Washington for the next 30 days Thursday.

Manier said the effort is aimed at protecting public health and safety. It’s also a way to make sure essential first responders are available to help with COVID-19 related incidents. The burn ban coincides with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Executive Orders in response to COVID-19.

Washington Fire Chief Roger Traver said banning open burning eliminates the potential for fires to get out of control and reduces calls for nuisance or unauthorized burning, which permits staff to be available for other critical incident needs. Traver said firefighters work closely together on-scene and when traveling to and from incident locations.

He said the suspension of open burning also helps protect firefighters from infection by the coronavirus by limiting their exposure to potentially infected persons. Chief Traver said the preventative approach to limiting open burning is important so that firefighters can continue making medical calls during this continuing health crisis.

Older people, and people with other medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), maybe more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with COVID-19. The city said eliminating open burning during the next 30 days will reduce the impact on those higher-risk residents.

Manier said it’s critical to emergency crews available for life or death situations.

“This terrible virus that we’re all faced with is a respiratory disease,” said Manier. “It’s can cause people a lot of heartache and the last thing we want to have to do is transport, someone, to the hospital for an asthmatic condition and the hospitals are already full. Plus, it puts our firefighters at risk from battling fires, like brush fires that get out of control. So, we decided to implement a ban.”

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