The Alberni Basin Airshed is a valley surrounded by mountains that opens directly at one end to marine influences. Resulting wind patterns exert a venting influence on the airshed, although seasonal inversion conditions can trap valley air for days on end.
About 25,000 people share the airshed, three quarters of which live in and around the City of Port Alberni. The region falls within the jurisdiction of the ACRD and is home to the Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nations.
For decades, the Alberni Basin Airshed was exposed to heavy industrial pollution that was generated within the main population base. Since 1989, there have been tremendous improvements made to air quality in the Alberni Basin. As individuals and companies are led into a new awareness of the links between air pollution and its health effects, increasing value is being placed on air as a common property resource, and on clean air as fundamental to human and environmental health.
The Port Alberni Airshed, as with many others in BC, is characterized by frequent thermal inversions during the winter months. These are often marked by low-lying fog, which literally caps the valley and can be seen as such when viewed from higher up the mountain slopes.
Here are some important links to learn more about air quality:
- Overview of air pollution
- Air quality and health
- Air pollution
- Ventlation index
- Port Alberni's air quality index
- Port Alberni weather station (Alberni Elementary)
Air Quality Council
The Air Quality Council (AQC) was formed in 2003 as a working group with representation from the City of Port Alberni, the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, the Ministry of Environment, Environment Canada, Catalyst Port Alberni, the Alberni Environmental Coalition, First Nations, and the medical community. The AQC serves to promote health by working to ensure the cleanest possible air for the Alberni Basin and its inhabitants.
The ACRD has adopted burning regulations for properties within the six ACRD Electoral Areas: Bamfield, Beaufort, Long Beach, Sproat Lake, Beaver Creek and Cherry Creek. More information on the Burning Bylaws and the Provincal Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation (OBSCR) is available (link).
Woodstove Exchange Program
The Wood Stove Exchange Program began in 2008 with the intent to provide incentive for replacing old wood stoves (very high particulate emissions) with efficient, low emissions models or alternatives. More information on the Woodstove Exchange Program is available (link) or through the Provincial Community Wood Smoke Reduction Program (link).
- Fires outside Port Alberni: call the RAPP line (1-877-952-7277) or submit a report online (link)
- Fires in Port Alberni: contact the City of Port Alberni Fire Department
- Non-emergencies: Call 250-724-1351
- Emergencies: Call 911