The alert has ended.
The Ministry of Environment in collaboration with Northern Health and the Town of Smithers has issued an Air Quality Advisory for Smithers because of high concentrations of fine particulate matter that are expected to persist throughout the week.
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.
Restrictions on open burning are now in effect for the Bulkley Timber Supply Area until Sunday, Dec. 10 at 9:00 a.m.
For the duration of this advisory the use of woostoves is prohibited within the Town of Smithers, unless the woodstove is the only source of heat in a dwelling.
Real-time air quality observations and information regarding the health effects of air pollution can be found at bcairquality.ca.
What is fine particulate matter?
Fine particulate matter, PM2.5, refers to airborne solid or liquid droplets with diameters of 2.5 micrometres (µm) or less. PM2.5 levels tend to be highest around busy roads, industrial operations and neighbourhoods with residential wood burning. PM2.5 can easily penetrate indoors because of their small size.
Sources of PM2.5 contributing to this air quality episode include emissions from wood smoke (woodstoves) as well as emissions from industry and transportation sources such as automobiles, trucks and rail traffic.
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 shortterm
exposure to air pollution.
For persons with chronic underlying medical conditions:
• Residents with asthma or other chronic illness should activate their asthma or personal
• 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
• Take shelter in air-conditioned buildings which have large indoor volumes and limited entry
of outdoor air.