Air Quality Information and Programs

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Air Quality Health Index for Central Okanagan

The Regional Air Quality Program is a joint initiative of the City of Kelowna, Regional District of Central Okanagan, District of Peachland, City of West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and the District of Lake Country.

The Air Quality Program helps protect and improve the region’s air through education, awareness, and pollution prevention programs.

Contact the Regional Air Quality Coordinator (airquality@kelowna.ca) at 250-469-8408 or visit these pages for program initiatives and information.

Outdoor Burning Information  
Open Burning Season Ends April 30th - View 2017 News Release

Depending on the fire hazard, the season normally runs October 1st to April 30th throughout the Central Okanagan.


Only eligible property owners (greater than one hectare/2.47 acres) with a permit from their local fire authority will be allowed to burn after phoning the Open Burning Hotline 1-855-262-2876 which will tell them whether venting and air quality allow burning that day.

  • On a day that burning is allowed, it's recommended burning begin later in the morning, as venting conditions are usually better after 10:00am.
  • Residents are encouraged to report anyone illegally burning on a non-burning day by calling the Regional Fire Dispatch Center at 250-469-8577.
The Air Quality Program encourages all Central Okanagan residents to use Alternatives to Open Burning whenever possible.

Residents with a valid permit are required to check the air quality/venting conditions on the day that they want to burn. Conditions are updated daily at approximately 8:00 am. The conditions can also be accessed by calling 1-855-262-BURN (2876).

The outdoor burning season is regulated in the Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West Electoral Areas in part by the Regional Fire Prevention and Regulations Bylaw No. 1066 and the Smoke Control Bylaw No. 773.  Member municipal governments have similar regulations, which empower local fire chiefs to determine the open burning season. 

Within the Regional District of Central Okanagan there are a few specific circumstances when burning may occur when the venting index is less than 65.

  • A local fire department may exempt a permit holder from the venting and air quality regulations when burning is required specifically for a fuel modification project to dispose of fire hazard materials and protect public safety by reducing the potential for interface wildfires. Permit holders may be subject to other conditions from the fire department issuing the permit.
  • Areas within the Regional District that are outside of a fire protection area fall under the Provincial Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation. Residents must contact the Regional District at 250-469-6223 to confirm that they are outside of a fire protection area.

For regulations and information regarding Outdoor Burning, please contact your local fire authority.

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Anti- Idling Information    - motorists can each help to improve our air quality and reduce health impacts by not allowing their vehicles to idle while stopped for more than ten seconds.  By not idling a light duty vehicle for just three minutes a day, you'll save fuel, money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions!

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Clean Air Strategy

Open burning and residential wood burning were identified as the main causes of degraded air quality in the Central Okanagan. (2007 Central Okanagan Air Quality Management Plan) Recently, vehicle emissions have also been studied as a significant source of pollution.  A review of the progress made on reducing air pollution, including extensive community and stakeholder consultation, has resulted in a regionally-endorsed Central Okanagan Clean Air Strategy - 2015.  

The Strategy defines the Clean Air Vision and Goals and outlines a blueprint for the next five years to help the region achieve these.  Input was gathered from a multi-stakeholder advisory group, staff members from the regional partners, and from the general public.

Appendix 7
Appendix 8
Appendix 9

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Air Pollutants 

Smoke from residential wood burning appliances, open burning, vehicle emissions and road dust are significant sources of particulate matter. Particulate matter are tiny particles, not visible by the naked eye, but are the most serious air pollutant in British Columbia. They are inhaled deep into lungs and enter the blood stream which can lead to serious impacts on organs such as the heart.  

Learn More about Particulate Matter, Greenhouse Gases, Volatile Organic Compounds, Ground-level Ozone, NO2 and Health Effects of Air Pollution.

This poster, Wood Smoke: Facts, Myths & Misconceptions is a useful resource about the health impacts of wood smoke on residents in the Central Okanagan.

Your contribution to clean air does make a difference!

There are lots of things you can do to help improve local air quality. Check out the suggestions below and review the Air Quality Guide to get started!

  • Get Active - We all want to protect our community and improve our health. Choosing active transportation, like walking, cycling and transit is a great way to help our environment and improve your health. You will also enjoy the beauty of our city that you just don’t see from your vehicle! Check out the Regional smartTRIPS program for events and ideas to help you get moving!     
  • Small engines are BIG polluters - Lawnmowers and other small engines are responsible for creating some of the worst air pollutants! The best thing to do is replace gas lawnmowers and other small engines with electric or human powered machines. If you are not able to replace your equipment, be careful when using it. Always use caution to avoid spilling fuel, keep your equipment properly maintained, use alternatives whenever possible, and recycle your equipment properly when replacing it. See the Regional District Waste Reduction Office for more information on recycling old machinery.
  • Home Heating and Energy Use - Reducing home heating and energy use will save you money and help reduce air pollution. Rebates on energy efficient upgrades are available from Fortis and BC Hydro.   
  • Wood Heating - If you burn wood for heating, ensure you are burning properly. It is illegal to burn anything other than untreated, seasoned (dry) wood. Check out the Woodstove Exchange program and the wood burning best practices for videos and great advice on woodstove use.
  • Indoor Air Pollution - Household products ranging from new carpets to air fresheners to cleaning products can contain toxic chemicals that negatively impact indoor air quality and affect your health. For information on indoor air pollutants see the EPA guide to indoor air quality.   You can also access important information about indoor quality at Interior Health

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Contact Us
Regional Air Quality Coordinator
airquality@kelowna.ca
250-469-8408

 

 
 
 
Regional District of Central Okanagan | 1450 KLO Road | Kelowna, BC V1W 3Z4
Ph: 250-763-4918 | Fax: 250-763-0606 | Email: info@cord.bc.ca
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Closed Holidays)