Did you know that Beaconsfield has the second largest number of wood burning appliances among all demerged cities in Montreal? Did you also know that wood burning emits pollutants - small particulates and chemicals - into the air? The ill effects of these particulates are numerous and range from headaches, nausea, dizziness and aggravation of angina in people with cardiac problems, through irritation of the eyes and respiratory system, painful inhalation and coughing, with children, the elderly and people with lung disease being especially vulnerable.

Before burning wood this winter, download the weather app WeatherCAN to find out whether there is an advisory in effect. A Quick Link may also be consulted on the City's website under "Info-Smog". Smog advisories often accompany weather forecasts and are also posted on electronic bulletin boards along highways leading to downtown Montreal.

If a smog advisory is in effect, please respect section 9.4 of By-law BEAC-033 as well as the health and well-being of your neighbors by not burning wood, failing which you may be subject to a fine.

In Quebec air pollution is measured and calculated by numerous air quality monitoring stations, among them Sainte Anne de Bellevue, Dorval and Downtown Montreal. The calculations result in what is known as the Air Quality Index (AQI). When the AQI rises over a certain level, smog alerts are issued. Under stable atmospheric conditions (usually with a temperature inversion – i.e. with warm air aloft) and with little wind – stagnant conditions - pollutants become trapped, increasing their concentration near the earth's surface. Therefore, hand-in-hand with meteorological predictions, air quality cannot only be reported, but also predicted.

In Montreal, smoggy days are more frequent in winter than in summer. In 2018, almost 90 % of smog episodes were observed during the winter months (December, January, February and March). Much of the sources of smog in summer are transportation and industrial pollution but in winter over 60% of the source can be attributed to wood burning. Therefore, burning wood during smoggy conditions makes an already bad situation worse for sufferers of asthma, emphysema and heart problems.

In 2018, the boroughs of the City of Montreal permanently prohibited the use of wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. These regulations do not apply to Beaconsfield. Beaconsfield's Construction By-law BEAC-046 allow the use of an existing wood-burning stove or fireplace if it was installed prior to July 7, 2011. It also allows the replacement of existing equipment provided it meets an "EPA" certified emission rate of less than 2.5 grams per hour of fine particles. The regulation also provides that only natural gas, propane and pellet appliances are allowed in new constructions. A permit is required for any replacement or installation of a stove or fireplace.

References

Ministère Développement durable, Environnement, Faune et Parcs

Ville de Montréal - Prévision de la qualité de l'air

Environment Canada - Smog Warning

Ministère Développement durable, Environnement, Faune et Parcs - Wood Heating