The Ministry of the Environment and Island Health have issued an air quality advisory for Duncan.
According to officials, high concentrations of fine particulate matter are expected to persist until weather conditions change. Over the last 24 hours, fine particulate concentrations average 31 micrograms per cubic metre, as of 8 a.m. The provincial air quality objective is 25 micrograms per cubic metres.
The elevated concentrations are due to poor dispersion from calm winds over the area. The fine particulate concentrations are expected to be higher during the evening, overnight and early morning hours.
Exposure is a concern for infants, the elderly and people who have diabetes, lung or heart disease. People with chronic underlying medical conditions are advised to avoid strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted. Staying indoors and in air-conditioned spaces can help reduce fine particulate exposure.
An open burning restriction is also in effect for the Cowichan Valley within 15 kilometres of three days. New fires cannot be started and additional material cannot be added to existing fires.
Officials said residents can also reduce emissions by avoiding the use of wood stoves and fireplaces unless necessary, burn well-cured dry wood and ensure an adequate supply of combustion air, avoid backyard burning and reducing the use and idling of vehicles.
The air quality advisory that was issued for Courtenay on Dec. 7 has ended as air quality has improved. However, open burning restrictions remain in effect until Dec. 11.