Air Quality Advisory Ended

January 7, 2016

From the Ministry of Environment:

"The Ministry of Environment in collaboration with Island Health has ended the air quality advisory for the Comox Valley due to improving air quality.

Open burning may now be conducted without a permit or approval from the Ministry of Environment provided that the activity complies with the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation, Environmental Management Act. All open burning must also comply with Municipal open burning bylaws where a bylaw exists. Please note: Open burning has been banned in the City of Courtenay since 2008.

For more information on current air quality, see: www.bcairquality.ca."

Previously:

January 7, 2016

"The Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the Island Health Authority is continuing an Air Quality Advisory for Courtenay/Comox/Cumberland because of high concentrations of fine particulates that are expected to persist until weather conditions change.

Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted. Staying indoors and in air conditioned spaces helps to reduce fine particulate exposure. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease.

Open burning restrictions are now in effect for the Comox Valley within 15 kilometres of Courtenay City Hall for a period of 3 days. No new fires may be initiated and no additional material may be added to existing fires.

For more information on burning restrictions, see the section below entitled ‘Mandatory Emission Reduction Actions.’ For more information on current air quality, see: www.bcairquality.ca

Tips to reduce your personal health risk.

  • Avoid areas with wood smoke.
  • Continue to control medical conditions such as asthma, chronic respiratory disease and heart failure. If symptoms continue to be bothersome, seek medical attention.
  • Maintaining good overall health is a good way to reduce health risks resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.

Additional tips for those with chronic underlying medical conditions:

  • Stay indoors, keep windows and doors closed and reduce indoor sources of pollution such as smoking, vacuuming and use of wood stoves.
  • Run an air cleaner. Some room air cleaners, such as HEPA filters, can help reduce indoor particulate levels provided they are the right size for your home and filters are changed regularly.
  • Take shelter in air-conditioned buildings which have large indoor volumes and limited entry of outdoor air.

Voluntary Emission Reduction Actions

  • Avoid the use of wood stoves and fireplaces unless the sole source of residential heat.
  • Where wood stoves or fireplaces are the sole source of residential heat, use only CSA/EPA emissions approved wood-burning appliances and well-cured wood, and ensure an adequate supply of combustion air.
  • Follow local backyard burning bylaws.
    Please note: Open burning has been banned in the City of Courtenay since 2008.
  • Avoid backyard burning where a bylaw does not exist.
  • Reduce the use and idling of vehicles.

Additional Information

  • Fine particulate (PM2.5) concentrations averaged over 24 hours, were 31 micrograms per cubic metre (μg/m3) as of 7:00 AM. This exceeds the provincial air quality objective of 25 μg/m3.
  • The main sources of fine particulates contributing to this air quality episode include wood smoke from residential home heating (wood stoves) and open burning.
  • Wood smoke concentrations are expected to be higher during the evening, overnight and early morning hours and should improve during the daylight hours. Degraded air quality is expected to continue until there is a change in the current weather system.
  • Real-time air quality information from Courtenay and other B.C. communities can be found at: www.bcairquality.ca "