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Bulkley Valley Air Quality October 13, 2017


Hi Everyone:

As you may have noticed, on Friday, October 13th, the air quality in the Valley was very poor. I happened to be driving on Hungry Hill on Friday and I could see that the majority of the smoke was coming from Houston and slash piles burning on the ridge to the west and directly across the Bulkley from Hungry Hill. That smoke plume continued all the way to Smithers. My guess is that, although the air quality was obviously bad for the entire day, there was no air quality alert issued. So much for Gary Quanstrom’s reliance on air quality alerts as a method for determining if slash burning affects our air. The air was so hazy that day with a very low cloud cover that it was not worthwhile taking photos of the plume since the smoke would not have appeared in the pictures in any event.

On Saturday, I happened to take a hike that included a stop on the Bald Spot on the NE Slope Trails on Hudson Bay Mountain. That day, the air quality started poor, but improved as the winds switched. I did take a series of photos from the Bald Spot looking both southeast (photos 1 and 2)and northeast ( photo 3 -the view towards the town). In those pictures, you can clearly see the smoke retreating to the south with the view to the southeast obscured by smoky haze, but the view to the northeast (overlooking the Town) quite clear.

This sequence illustrates the inadequacy of the air quality alert system to inform residents of unhealthy air, as well as the degree to which the slash smoke can travel over long distances and impact our health.

As to Gary H’s burns, I would be greatly surprised if the venting was good on Friday (apparently, the second day of his three day burn). Under OBSCR, the forecast has to be good for the first day and at, least fair for the second day. If the forecast was for fair on Friday, then that is probably the 1 of 3 days to which Gary refers where it was off. This illustrates once again the inadequacy of the present system since the forecasts seem to be wrong so much of the time.


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