Another burning ban in place until at least Wednesday

Dr. Paul Hasselback, regional health officer, advises simple precautions to dodge flu and norovirus swirling around Cowichan. - Peter W. Rusland file
Dr. Paul Hasselback, regional health officer, advises simple precautions to dodge flu and norovirus swirling around Cowichan.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland file

For the second time this month, Cowichan's bad air quality has sparked burning restrictions.

Open burning has been banned until today, within 15 kilometres of Duncan city hall, the environment ministry and Vancouver Island Health Authority announced Moinday.

Their air-quality advisory for Duncan and vicinity follows high concentrations of fine particulates expected to persist until at least Jan. 16.

Folks with chronic, underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted.

Cowichan's air quality is affected by our bowl-like geography that traps smoke and pollutants, VIHA's Dr. Paul Hasselback has told regional brass.

"Staying indoors, and in air conditioned spaces, helps reduce fine particulate exposure," the press release states.

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

No new fires may be lit, and no additional material may be added to existing fires, the province and VIHA say.

Smoke-sensitive people should dodge wood smoke, stay indoors, keep windows and doors closed, and reduce indoor sources of pollution such as smoking, vacuuming and use of wood stoves.

Room air cleaners, such as HEPA filters, can reduce indoor particulate levels, provided they are the right size for your home, and filters are changed regularly.

Another tactic is taking shelter in air-conditioned buildings, which have large indoor volumes and limited entry of outdoor air.

Victoria urges using only CSA/EPA emissions-approved wood-burning appliances, and well-cured wood, and ensure an adequate supply of combustion air; following local backyard burning bylaws, and reducing the use and idling of vehicles.

For more information on burning restrictions, see the section below entitled 'Mandatory Emission Reduction Actions.' For more information on current air quality, see

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