An air quality advisory and open burning restrictions have ended for Port Alberni as of Thursday, Feb. 22.
The advisory was issued for the city on Wednesday, Feb. 21 because high concentrations of fine particulates were expected to persist until weather conditions changed, according to a media release from the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy and the Island Health Authority.
The Ministry and Island Health now state that air quality has improved, and open burning may now be conducted without a permit or approval, provided that the activity complies with open burning smoke control regulations.
According to Environment Canada, an air quality advisory is issued when pollutant concentrations approach or exceed predetermined limits, or when degraded air quality episodes are expected to continue or worsen.
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. Room air cleaners, such as HEPA filters, can also help reduce indoor particulate levels. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those with diabetes or lung or heart disease.
To reduce your personal health risk, avoid roads with heavy vehicle traffic and areas with wood smoke and continue to manage medical conditions such as asthma, chronic respiratory disease and heart disease. If breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable during outdoor physical activity, stop or reduce the activity. If symptoms become bothersome, seek medical attention.
The Ministry and Island Health also recommend avoiding the use of wood stoves and fireplaces unless used as the sole source of residential heat. If wood stoves or fireplaces must be used, burn well-cured dry wood, and ensure an adequate supply of combustion air.
For more information, check out Environment Canada’s Air, Land & Water page.