B.C. wildfires are making Victoria’s air quality worse than Delhi’s


WATCH: With a lack of rain and so many wildfires burning, the Island’s air quality has dropped. As Kori Sidaway tells us, our current air quality index means it’s actually worse to breathe here than in Delhi or Beijing.

A thick haze has descended on the bays and inlets of east and south Vancouver Island, remnants of the 566 wildfires burning across the province.

On the Island, they’re causing some bad side effects.

“Well we went for a hike yesterday. It was a little cloudier or smokier than usual. But the last couple days I’ve noticed a lot of a difference. It was a little harder to breathe today,” said runner Maureen McCan.

Doctors are warning that youngsters, elderly, pregnant woman, and those with health issues to take special care.

But they’re also warning for healthy people to watch out.

“I had to make a quick run to catch something, and I became short of breath. All of us will feel something at certain levels of poor air quality,” said Island Health Dr. Paul Hasselback.

The symptoms can range from eye irritation or a runny nose, or something much more severe.

According to Environment Canada, the health risk of Victoria’s air quality remains moderate.

But according to Breezeometer, Victoria’s air is worse than notoriously polluted cities like Delhi, Bejing and Los Angeles.

Meteorologists are forecasting some relief, but by Sunday, the winds will shift to come from the mainland. With the wildfires in all quadrants of the province, there appears to be no end in sight for the smoke.

“We’re going to see smoke again late this weekend and into next week, and into the near future, because we’re looking at finding that next fall, Pacific storm, and it’s just not coming,” said Environment Canada Meteorologist Armel Castellan.

In the meantime, doctors are suggesting to do the opposite of what our parents always told us: play inside.

“Sometimes it takes a few days after the peak of the event that people still have those systems and need some additional help or may seek out medical care,” said Hasselback.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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