We are reviewing our Open Air Burning Bylaw with the goal of improving air quality.
The bylaw was originally adopted in 1993 and restricts what materials can be burned, as well as where and when outdoor burning can take place.
In an effort to improve air quality for our residents, we are beginning with a look at backyard burning, including limitations on materials, setbacks and time periods. Staff will report back to the community and Council with what we hear and recommendations; after which time, there may be more consultation and/or the open air burning bylaw may be amended.
Why examine our current open air burning practices?
Island Health has flagged outdoor smoke as a health concern, and has brought this to the attention of local municipalities. Their letter states:
“…health effects from the resulting wood-smoke have become increasingly recognized. Wood smoke contains many of the same harmful substances that are found in tobacco smoke and is a significant source of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), a major component of air pollution and a detriment to health. When inhaled, PM2.5 embeds deep inside the tissue of the lung. Exposure is associated with a shortened lifespan, and can lead to lung cancer, reduced lung functioning and worsening of heart disease and asthma among those who suffer from these conditions.
Building upon existing research, a February 2017 Health Canada study (mcgill/newsroom/woodstoves), using air quality data from three BC cities (including Courtenay/Comox), found that an increase in fine particulate matter specifically due to wood burning in the winter was associated with a 19 percent increase in hospitalization for heart attacks among those 65 years or older. Local governments are uniquely positioned to lower PM2.5 emission, improve air quality and thus achieve better health outcomes...”
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Take a short survey and leave us comments. Please take a moment to learn about the bylaw (and what types of fires are included in this review) contact the Fire Department before February 15, 2019.