Slash Burning and Wildfires
|Regulations and Bylaws on Outdoor Burning
Every year in BC there is an average of 2000 wildfires. About half of them are caused by people, and just over half are caused by lightning.
For example, during the severe fire season of 2010, 100,000 hectares burned within a 24 hour period in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region. Air quality was effected across the province including Port Alberni, where an air quality advisory was issued from smoke movement over the coast.
In a ten day pollution spike during August, 2010, Williams Lake suffered fine particulate matter pollution in the order of 250 ug/m3. Prince George went up to 150ug/m3.
During these events, people with respiratory diseases can be at risk. More prescriptions, emergency visits, and hospital admissions occur on those smoky days.
People with respiratory disease can prepare for these seasonal emergency events by making sure they have medication on hand before the fire season. They should also consider buying a HEPA filter air cleaner , which can help reduce smoke pollution that enters the home. There should also be designated public clean air shelters in the community such as air-conditioned shopping malls or community centres.
During the 2011-2012 fiscal year, there were 93 coastal fires in B.C. The threat of fire and resulting smoke exposures require careful emergency planning for the Port Alberni area, especially during the fire season, when it is not uncommon for the valley and surrounding hills to become tinder-box dry with temperatures reaching 40 degrees C.
For great information on current and past fires in BC go to:|
bcwildfire.ca/ During the fire season, the Western Canada BlueSky Smoke Forecasting System predicts hourly smoke concentrations from wildfires for up to 48 hours. Forecasts are updated daily and can be viewed at: www.bcairquality.ca/bluesky/