Air quality advisory issued as fog continues to linger in Comox Valley

An air quality advisory for the Comox Valley is expected to last for three days due to high concentrations of fine particulates.

The Ministry of Environment in collaboration with Island Health has issued an Air Quality Advisory for Courtenay/Comox/Cumberland because of high concentrations of fine particulates that are expected to persist for the next three days.

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 three 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.bcaircivality.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.

Mandatory Emission Reduction Actions

As pollution may occur from open burning, the director has suspended the exemption in the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation (Sections 2(i) and 4(2)(a)) that allows for open burning of debris to occur without a permit or approval from the Ministry of Environment.

For the next three days, no new fires may be initiated in the Comox Valley within a 15-kilometre radius from Courtenay City Hall and pursuant to Section 4(2)(c) of the regulation, no additional material may be added to existing fires. Contravention of these provisions may be subject to a fine.

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 CSNEPA emissions-approved wood-burning appliances and well-cured wood, and ensure an adequate supply of combustion air.

•    Follow local backyard burning bylaws.

•    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 26 micrograms per cubic metre (pg/rn3) as of Friday at 4 p.m. This exceeds the provincial air quality objective of 25 pg/rn3.

•    Sources of fine particulates contributing to this air quality episode include wood smoke (wood stoves and/or open burning) as well as emissions from commercial activities, and transportation sources such as motor vehicles and marine traffic.

•    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. bcaircivality.ca.

Ministry of Environment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Sandra Allison and Dr. Charmaine Enns joined school district senior staff for a virtual town hall meeting to address the latest COVID concerns in schools. Image, screenshot
No secondary cases in Comox Valley schools, say health officers

School district hosts virtual town hall to address recent COVID-19 cases in schools

One of the rescues at CATS - Cat Advocates Teaching & Saving Society’s new location on Knight Road in Comox. Photo by Erin Halushak
Feline rescue organization growing into new space

Cat Advocates Teaching & Saving Society opens new facility on Knight Road

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Neighbours have reached out to media on several occasions with complaints about the property

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Tentative COVID-19 vaccine site chosen in the Comox Valley

B.C. is moving into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 mass immunization plan

Cumberland is considering downtown densification proposals, and with that comes questions around parking, among other things. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Water bottling ban, parking key changes for Cumberland zoning

Bylaw on amendments still need adoption following March 2 hearing

Sean LaFleur and Geoff Piper of Courtenay Nissan will be running 4 miles every 4 hours all weekend long in a fundraising campaign for YANA (You Are Not Alone).
VIDEO: Courtenay Nissan hosting YANA fundraiser

Courtenay Nissan is hosting a special YANA fundraiser all weekend long, from… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Burnaby Mounties responded to 56 complaints and issued 10 tickets to people flouting COVID-19 restrictions in February. (Patrick Davies/100 Mile Free Press)
COVID denier fined $2,300 for hosting gathering in her home: Burnaby RCMP

The woman told Mounties she does not believe the pandemic is real

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

The Courtenay Fire Department hopes to start a new recruit training program in mid-2021, pending Provincial Health Orders. Scott Stanfield photo
Courtenay Fire Department gets creative

Due to public health orders resulting from COVID, the Courtenay Fire Department… Continue reading

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Most Read