The number of reports about backyard burning in the territory has seen a significant decrease since transitioning from the 24-hour lockdown phase to the present curfew period.
This is according to Chief Fire Officer of the Virgin Islands Fire & Rescue Service (VIFRS) Zebalon McLean.
While there has been a decline in the overall number of reports for backyard burning, McLean said any report on the subject is still one too many.
“There have been fewer calls for burning. I would say down about 50 percent but still, the calls we do get; it does create a problematic situation,” he stated.
“Our attitude is if you get 100 calls, if you get one call, you have someone who’s being affected. I’ve tried to help people to understand that when smoke gets inside your house and it gets inside of the furniture, into the curtains and into your clothes, it is a very uncomfortable situation,” the Fire Chief added.
Suspected reason for the decline
McLean also said the decline in reported cases could be linked to the varying differences between a full-on lockdown and a limited curfew.
He said: “I suspect the reason why we haven’t had as many calls is because during the lockdown everyone necessarily had to be home. So if you burn something at any point in time, you would affect a large group of people.”
“But during the curfew, we have persons out and about during the day time and if someone was burning something in the middle of the morning, it may not have been a person or persons who were affected since they would have been out as well,” he further explained.
Consider your neighbour
While renewing anti-backyard burning sentiments, the Chief Fire Officer encouraged residents to consider their neighbours.
“When you burn and inhale that smoke, at some point in time — sooner or later — inhaling it constantly, they are going to become ill and they are going to become ill irreversibly,” he stated.
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