Dec. 9 update:
The Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the Northern Health Authority has ended the Air Quality Advisory for Vanderhoof due to improving air quality resulting from changing weather conditions.
Dec. 8 update:
Air quality is expected to remain poor today but improve overnight with increasing wind speeds.
24-hour average PM2.5 concentrations for communities along Hwy 16 as of December 8, 2016 at 08:00 PST:
Prince George: 16
Burns Lake: 5
The Ministry of Environment in collaboration with Northern Health has issued an Air Quality Advisory for Vanderhoof because of high concentrations of fine particulate matter that are expected to persist throughout the day. This advisory is in effect until further notice.
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.
Real-time air quality observations and information regarding the health effects of air pollution can be found at www.bcairquality.ca.
Elevated PM2.5 concentrations are resulting from still air and poor dispersion. Air quality is expected to remain poor today but improve tomorrow as windspeeds increase.
Sources of PM2.5 contributing to this episode include: residential home heating wood smoke (from wood stoves and boilers); industrial wood smoke; and transportation sources such as automobiles, trucks and rail traffic.
The provincial air quality objective for PM2.5, is 25 micrograms per cubic metre (mg/m3), averaged over 24 hours. 24-hour average PM2.5 concentrations are summarized below for communities along Hwy 16 as of December 7, 2016 at 10:00 PST:
Prince George: 7Vanderhoof: 25Burns Lake: 12Houston: 18Smithers: 18Terrace: 3
Tips to reduce your personal health risk:
– Avoid roads with heavy vehicle traffic and areas with wood smoke.
– Continue to manage medical conditions such as asthma, chronic respiratory disease and heart failure. If symptoms continue to be bothersome, seek medical attention.
– Use common sense regarding outdoor physical activity; if your breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity.
– Maintaining good overall health is a good way to reduce health risks resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.
For persons with chronic underlying medical conditions:
– Residents with asthma or other chronic illness should activate their asthma or personal care plan.
– 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 woodstoves and fireplaces unless used as the sole source of residential heat.
– Where woodstoves or fireplaces are the sole source of residential heat, burn dry wood and ensure an adequate supply of combustion air.
– Reduce the use and idling of vehicles.