Air quality advisories, smoky skies bulletin remain in place for Vancouver Island due to wildfires

Air quality advisories, smoky skies bulletin remain in place for Vancouver Island due to wildfires
Nicholas Pescod/CHEK News

Smoky skies bulletin and air quality advisories remain in place for Vancouver Island Monday due to wildfire smoke.

Environment and Climate Change Canada re-issued a smoky skies bulletin and air quality advisories on Monday for all of Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands, warning that the regions continue to be impacted by wildfire smoke.

The smoke is the result of wildfires burning southeast of Chilliwack, near Hope and in Washington State.

“People with pre-existing health conditions, respiratory infections such as COVID-19, older adults, pregnant women and infants, children, and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure,” Environment Canada said in a statement.

Originally issued Sunday afternoon, the bulletin and air quality advisory covers all of Greater Victoria; Sooke to Port Renfrew; Duncan to Ladysmith and Shawnigan Lake; Nanaimo, including Cedar, South Wellington and Cassidy; Nanoose Bay to Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Coombs; and Lake Cowichan to Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet and Nahmint.

Campbell River and the Comox Valley, including Black Creek and Cumberland, are also included in the bulletin. So is Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Port Alice, Bull Harbour, Alert Bay, Sayward, and Woss, Fanny Bay, Denman Island, Hornby Island, and Lasqueti Island and portions of Strathcona Park and Schoen Lake Provincial Park.

“If you or those in your care are exposed to wildfire smoke, consider taking extra precautions to reduce your exposure. Wildfire smoke is a constantly-changing mixture of particles and gases which includes many chemicals that can harm your health,” a statement on Environment Canada’s website reads.

While the bulletin and advisories have been issued, the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) for Victoria is listed as low risk and moderate for the West Shore. Elsewhere on Vancouver Island, the AQHI is currently listed as low.

When the air quality index is moderate, individuals with heart or breathing problems should consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous outdoor activities if they are experiencing symptoms such as coughing or throat irritation.

For those who are not at risk, there is no need to modify “usual outdoor activities unless you experience symptoms,” according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.

To view the province’s AQHI map in real-time, click here.


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