An air quality advisory has been issued for Courtenay due to high concentrations of particulates that are expected to persist until the weather conditions change.
The Ministry of the Environment and Island Health said exposure to the particulates is a concern for infants, the elderly and people with diabetes, lung or heart disease.
People with chronic underlying medical conditions area advised postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted. Staying indoors and in air conditioned spaces can reduce fine particulate exposure.
The ministry and Island Health said fine particulate concentrations averaged over 24 hours were 26 micrograms per cubic metre as of 8 a.m. this morning. This exceeds the provincial air quality objective of 25 micrograms per cubic metre.
The elevated concentrations are due to poor dispersion associated with calm winds over the area. The fine particulate concentrations are expected to be higher during the evening, overnight and the early morning.
Open burning is also restricted in the Comox Valley within 15 kilometres of Courtenay City Hall for three days. No new fires can be started and new materical cannot be added to existing fires.
Residents in the area can also reduce emissions by avoiding the use of wood stoves and fireplaces unless they are a sole source of residential heat, burn well-cured dry wood, avoid backyard burning until weather conditions improve and reduce the use and idling of vehicles.