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Doing Quarantine Yard Work? Be Careful Burning Waste, Fire Chief Says

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Updated April 2 at 5:36 p.m.: The city of East Peoria has issued a burn ban effective April 6 due to concerns over the novel coronavirus. The open burning of dry yard waste is still permitted through dusk of April 5. Failure to comply with the ban will lead to a verbal warning and potential fines on subsequent offenses.

Original story: Open burning is underway in East Peoria through the month of April and residents are urged to take extra precaution.

East Peoria Fire Chief John Knapp said he expects a lot of people will take advantage of the opportunity, as Gov. J.B. Pritzker's extended shelter in place order makes people feel cooped up indoors.

"I think we're going to find right now, because we have everybody at home looking for projects, there going to be a lot of people working outside working in their yard," he said.

Knapp said it's important to be considerate of your neighbors, especially those with respiratory conditions, as the people worry about their health amid the continuing COVID-19 spread.

"We have a lot of people in this world that have respiratory issues," he said. "If and when that situation occurs, we obviously prefer that they don't do it at all."

Knapp said to burn only dry yard waste in small piles that will burn quickly. He says to check the weather and avoid burning if wind speeds exceed 10 miles per hour.

He said the department will reconsider allowing open burning if it proves to be a hazard amid COVID-19.

Some other municipalities have already moved to ban burning, despite regularly allowing the practice in April. In a Facebook announcement, the city of Princeton said they would not allow open burning.

"Respiratory issues compounded by COVID-19 is steering us toward many changes, and this is one of them," the statements reads. "We will revisit the issue again in the fall."

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Dana Vollmer is a reporter with WGLT. Dana previously covered the state Capitol for NPR Illinois and Peoria for WCBU.