Air Quality Advisory issued for Vanderhoof

Fine air particles measured well above the provincial standard due to pollution and wood burning

Smoke seen in Vanderhoof

Smoke seen in Vanderhoof

An Air Quality Advisory has been issued for Vanderhoof and surrounding areas due to high amounts of pollution and wood particles.

“It is common this time of year to have emissions in the air pile up,” said Ralph Adams, Air Quality Meteorologist for the BC Ministry of Environment, in a phone interview. “The temperature of air increases with height and when a parcel of air moves upward it likely will continue to move upward. When the weather changes we get cold arctic air masses and when the cold air moves in, the warm air will stay stagnant.”

The Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the Northern Health Authority put the advisory into effect Thursday, Nov. 13.

Fine air particles were reported to be concentrated at 36 micrograms per cubic meter, exceeding the provincial air quality objective of 25 micrograms per cubic meter.

The concentrations have since dropped but the advisory is still in effect along with a burn restriction, said Mr. Adams Monday, Nov. 17.

“This comes from wood stoves, open burnings, idling vehicles and diesel trucks, anything causing pollution in the air,” said Mr. Adams, who added that large wood burnings should all be done by now since provincial regulations on open burnings say they should not continue more than 96 hours.

The open burning restriction is currently in effect for Comox Valley, Port Alberni, Kitimat, Vanderhoof, Smithers, and Telkwa. The government of Canada is asking that no new fires are initiated and no additional material added to existing fires.

Residents are also asked to avoid using wood burning stoves until the advisory is lifted (unless it is your sole source of heat), reduce idling vehicles and avoid backyard burnings.

Exposure is particularity a concern for infants, elders and those with diabetes and lung or heart disease.

For more information, visit ww.bcairquality.ca.