Ryan Holmes, resource manager for the North Region of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development presents at the airshed management meeting on Wednesday. Josh Casey photo

Airing concerns on airshed management

Smoke management plans discussed in Smithers.

The Bulkey Valley Lakes District (BVLD) Airshed Management Society held a public notification meeting about the smoke management plan.

Airshed management planning is a holistic, collaborative community process to address the cumulative impact of human activities on air quality.

“It was mainly to get some information in front of the public about smoke management plans, which are plans to basically set out best practices for burning of slash piles from forestry operations and it was mainly as a followup from the meeting that we had at the Old Church last November where it was more of an air quality meeting, but slash pile burning came up … I heard that and said I think there’s a need to get some information out to the community around what regulations and what licensees are beholden to when they light up a pile,” said Ryan Holmes, resource manager for the North Region of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Slash piles are accumulated debris from cutting brush or trimming trees.

Some of the questions that came up during the meeting from attendees was why is burning taking place at all and why aren’t the logs being chipped.

“The purpose of the meeting was to help them understand what a smoke management plan is, the public notification on the plan as well as ask for their input. Other comments related to the use of best management practices, which these plans have incorporated and people have also expressed the desire to be more informed when operators are initiating burns,” said air quality meteorologist Ben Weinstein, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, who added a notification system has been set up to let people know of a burn happening in their area

People can sign up for it by visiting openburning.ca.

For those who didn’t attend the meeting and would like to know more about what the society discussed, can visit the airshed management website: cleanairplan.ca.