Red sun and smoky skies greet Island residents Tuesday morning

Red sun and smoky skies greet Island residents Tuesday morning
WatchSmoke lingering from wildfires burning south of the border is creating health concerns for many. Mary Griffin reports.

The sunrise was red Tuesday morning due to smoke enveloping the Greater Victoria area and much of the rest of Vancouver Island.

The smoke, coming from the wildfires in Washington state, was a health concern for many.

With pulmonary arterial hypertension, Jasbir James said she was staying inside at her Cobble Hill home.

“I could smell it right away and I just knew that with my existing lung disease, it was not a good idea to open the door for long or to go out,” James said.

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement (smoky skies bulletin) due to the impact of wildfire smoke from the United States on air quality throughout much of B.C.

Earlier Tuesday, British Columbia’s Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) had indicated that in the Victoria and Duncan areas, high concentrations of smoke particles are creating health risks for residents.

Victoria, the West Shore and Duncan had hit 10 on the AQHI scale at different points earlier Tuesday.

On the AQHI scale, a 10 rating means that there is a “very high risk” to people’s health and the agency is recommending people in the area avoid strenuous activities outdoors, while children and the elderly should also avoid outdoor physical exertion.

Dr. Murray Fyfe, medical health officer with Island Health says the air quality is a concern.

“The air quality index has been rated above ten, which is high. And that’s due to the particulate matter which is in the smoke that’s moving into the area as a result of wildfires in B.C. and in Washington state,” Fyfe said.

King 5 is reporting hundreds of thousands of acres are still burning in Washington state.

And the smoky conditions may continue for some time on B.C.’s south coast, according to Armel Castellan, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada.

“In the next few days, because we really have to wait until at least maybe mid-week next week before we start to see the potential for a rain event cooler temperatures here on the south coast,” Castellan said.

Environment Canada said it will be constantly updating people as it monitors the situation south of the border.

READ MORE: Smoke from Washington state fires leads to air quality warnings on Vancouver Island

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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