Haze hanging over Duncan prompts air quality advisory

An air quality advisory and open burning restrictions issued by the provincial Ministry of Environment and Island Health last weekend are continuing into the week as a haze hangs in the air over the Cowichan Valley.

People with chronic medical conditions are being told to postpone strenuous exercise and stay indoors if they are within 15 kilometres of Duncan city hall.

"Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease," the press release states.

Fine particulate concentrations averaged over 24 hours were 31 micrograms per cubic metres as of 8 a.m. Monday morning, exceeding the provincial objective of 25 micrograms.

The pollution is coming from wood smoke, commercial and industrial activities and motor and marine vehicles.

"There are a lot of different sources for fine particulates," said Earle Plain, air quality meteorologist with the Ministry of Environment. The problems come in the winter when everyone ramps up their usage in response to colder weather, whether its idling their cars longer or industry having to use more fuel for their processes.

"All those things add up," he said.

The Cowichan Valley wasn’t subject to air quality advisories until a few years ago, but Plain said that’s not necessarily because the pollution is getting worse, but because now there are monitoring stations to measure it.

"Wood smoke concentrations are expected to be higher during the evening, overnight and early morning hours and should improve during daylight hours," the press release said.

People who fall into the high risk groups, including infants and the elderly are being advised to avoid areas with wood smoke and stay indoors with windows and doors closed, and run an air cleaner. People can also take shelter in airconditioned buildings that have limited entry of outdoor air.

To try to reduce what’s in the air, the exemption to the Open Burning Smoke Regulation that allows for open burning of debris has been suspended, meaning no new fires can be started and no more material can be added to existing ones, under threat of fines.

Individuals are asked to do their part by avoiding the use of their fireplaces and woodstoves unless they are the home’s only source of heat. If they are the only source of heat, people are asked to use only CSA/EPA emissions approved wood-burning appliances and well cured wood.

People are also asked to avoid backyard burning and idling their vehicles.

The poor air quality is expected to continue until the weather changes.

For more information, see www.bcairquality.ca

Just Posted

Robert Barron column: It’s good to see kids excited about education

A travelling salesman banged on our door and showed my parents an encyclopedia set

Cowichan Power and Sail Squadron celebrates its 60th anniversary

Many who take courses go on to become Canadian Power Squadron members.

Andrea Rondeau column: Crime Stoppers is back, plus, why crime is important to write about

As a newspaper we cover crime as more than just entertainment.

Kick for the Cure crushes records

Soccer fundraiser for MS brings in more than $30,000

Sarah Simpson column: Daddy Day field trip to City Hall a hit

“They want to go upstairs so I made them ask at the front desk.”

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Coming up in Cowichan: Spend Father’s Day fishing, or head to the BC Forest Discovery Centre

Deadline coming to register for class reunion The Cowichan Secondary Class of… Continue reading

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read