Air quality advisory and burning restrictions issued

The first air quality advisory of the season was issued last week. It is still in effect Tuesday for the Smithers area.

The first air quality advisory of the winter season was issued last week by the Ministry of Environment and the Northern Health Authority. It is still in effect Tuesday for the Smithers area.

The advisory came with open burning restrictions for Smithers, Telkwa, Houston, Burns Lake and surrounding areas.

“This is the first advisory related to wood smoke, which is the primary culprit. There’s also road dust as part of the particulate matter,” said Barry Watson, air quality meteorologist for the B.C. Ministry of Environment.

Smoke was trapped with no mixing of the air under a high pressure system according to Watson, who added that most of the smoke around Smithers was likely not from industrial slash pile burning.

“That would have been illegal because the venting index has not been what you need: good and fair… those conditions have not existed for a little while, so people shouldn’t be lighting up a fire,” said Watson.

The geography of the valley means this likely won’t be the last advisory this winter. Watson said he has more precise instrumentation to capture particulate matter, so there is potential for more advisories than in the past.

“That of course depends on the weather and how people mange their wood stoves primarily,” said Watson.

During advisories, people with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until they are lifted.

No new fires may be initiated and no additional material may be added to existing fires while advisories are in effect. Smithers and Telkwa clean air bylaws also prohibit the use of wood-burning appliances when under an advisory, except for sole wood burning heat users.

Air quality information can be found at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CGL must revise impact assessment on Unist’ot’en Healing Center

Environmental Assessment Office not satisfied with report’s shortcomings

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

Confusion surrounds terms of RCMP withdrawal from pipeline construction area

B.C. Deputy Commissioner clarifies terms of agreement following minister’s statements

Stop checks, searches of Wet’suwet’en pipeline opposers unlawful: Watchdog

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs file complaint

Wet’suwet’en pipeline supporters speak up

“Protesters get one side of the story and they stand up with their fists in the air.”

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Petition slams Victoria councillor who chastised police after Wetsuweten protest

Ben Isitt calls effort to get him suspended is not a ‘reliable barometer of public opinion’

Most Read