Air Quality is a Growing Concern in the Comox Valley and across BC
Smoke from wood stoves and fireplaces is the most significant source of air pollution in the Comox Valley because of the valley’s frequent temperature inversions and calm winds in winter when people are burning wood as their primary source of heat.
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Wood Smoke and Your Health
“Small particulate pollution have health impacts even at very low concentrations – indeed no threshold has been identified below which no damage to health is observed.”
– World Health Organization, 2018
Much like cigarette smoke, wood smoke contains tiny particles. These particles are called particulate matter (PM2.5) and they cause many kinds of serious health effects, including heart and lung problems - especially among children and the elderly. This means that it is important to minimize the amount of smoke we produce and our exposure to it.
Airshed Roundtable Project
In 2020, the CVRD embarked on a regional initiative to improve air quality in the Comox Valley through the creation of a multi-stakeholder Airshed Roundtable. More information about the project can be found here.
Wood Smoke Reduction Program
The Wood Smoke Reduction Program provides opportunities to save money by offering rebates to replace old wood stoves with a cleaner heating option such as a heat pump or a gas, propane or pellet stove.
Smart Wood Stove Burning Practices
Keeping firewood dry, allowing enough time for it to cure before using, and following good burning practices is essential to reducing smoke from wood burning. Smoky fires affect the health of our families, our neighbours, and our community.
These videos by the Fraser Basin Council are also a good source of information:
Burning regulations may be different depending on your location. In areas that have a fire regulation bylaw, the Fire Chief manages restrictions on burning based on the current local conditions and the resources that are available to fight fire.
In areas that do not have a fire regulation bylaw, the Provincial regulations apply and are managed by the Province.
For more information on current burning restrictions in your area please contact your responding fire department. To identify your responding fire department and their contact information, please visit this interactive map.