The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is warning British Columbians to “prepare for the worst” for wildfire smoke this year.
As hot and dry weather has returned to B.C., the BCCDC said in an announcement Tuesday the province needs to “reflect that many parts of the province have experienced prolonged periods of heavy smoke in recent summers.”
Wildfire smoke can be a great risk to human health because it is made of small particles and gasses, according to the BCCDC. They say the fine particulate matter (PM2.5) can be inhaled into the lungs and cause inflammation and irritation.
BCCDC scientific director of Environmental Health Services Sara Henderson said in the announcement, the province has experienced consecutive days and weeks of bad air quality over the years, and effects can be seen.
“We know that smoke really affects how people feel when it’s happening,” said Henderson. “There is growing evidence that exposure to seasonal wildfire smoke may have longer-lasting impacts on our health.”
The BCCDC says that while wildfire smoke is usually unpredictable, there are some things people can do to prepare.
They recommend people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, stock up with medication, consider getting a portable air cleaner, keeping windows closed during smoky times and wearing a mask outdoors.
Henderson says preparation should begin as 2021 may not be different than 2016 or 2020.
The BCCDC says to visit their website for more information about wildfire smoke and its health impacts.