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Concerns exist over respiratory symptoms that might be attributed to COVID-19

SCREENSHOT - The city of St. Helens has postponed its spring burn period and Columbia County is asking residents to postpone burning due to concerns related to the new coronavirus.St. Helens spring burn period postponed

The city of St. Helens has postponed the spring burn period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oregonians have been asked to voluntarily refrain from open burning, but the city of St. Helens has made the move to postpone the spring burn period until further notice.

"The City of St. Helens will evaluate the possibility of an alternate burn period once stay at home orders have been lifted, weather permitting," a press release from the city stated.

County fire districts ask residents to refrain from outdoor burns

The fire districts of Columbia County are requesting that community members refrain from outdoor burning while the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing.

The request is voluntary and usual burn regulations still apply. Smoke inhalation can cause upper respiratory symptoms that could be incorrectly attributed to COVID-19 and further burden the healthcare system, a press release from the districts explained.

Additionally, "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."

First responders are currently "operating at a reduced capacity and have limited resources to respond to out-of-control burns."

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