AIR QUALITY ADVISORY ISSUED FOR GRAND FORKS
The Ministry of Environment has issued an Air Quality Advisory for Grand Forks and surrounding areas because of high concentrations of fine particulates that are expected to persist until/for Saturday.
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.
A voluntary burn ban is in effect for all outdoor burning within a 20 kilometre radius from downtown Grand Forks until further notice.
Tips to reduce your personal health risk.
· Avoid roads with heavy vehicle traffic and areas with wood smoke.
· Continue to control medical conditions such as asthma, chronic respiratory disease and heart failure. If symptoms continue to be bothersome, seek medical attention.
· Maintaining good overall health is a good way to reduce health risks resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.
Additional tips for those with chronic underlying medical conditions:
· 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 regularly.
· Take shelter in air-conditioned buildings which have large indoor volumes and limited entry of outdoor air.
Voluntary Emission Reduction Actions
· Avoid initiating open burning and do not add fuel to existing fires.
· Avoid the use of wood stoves and fireplaces unless the sole source of residential heat.
· Where wood stoves or fireplaces are the sole source of residential heat, use only CSA/EPA emissions approved wood-burning appliances and well-cured wood, and ensure an adequate supply of combustion air.
· Follow local backyard burning bylaws.
· Avoid backyard burning where a bylaw does not exist.
· Reduce the use and idling of vehicles.
· Fine particulate (PM2.5) concentrations are currently 28 micrograms per cubic metre and exceed or are expected to exceed the provincial air quality objective of 25 micrograms per cubic metre, averaged over 24 hours.
24-Hour PM2.5 Concentrations
· Sources of fine particulates contributing to this air quality episode include wood smoke (wood stoves and/or open burning) as well as emissions from industry and transportation sources such as automobiles, trucks and rail traffic.
· This episode is expected to continue until there is a change in the current weather system.
· Real-time air quality information from Grand Forks and other B.C. communities can be found at: www.bcairquality.ca.