Smoky skies from early wildfire season set to hit Vancouver Island

Smoky skies from early wildfire season set to hit Vancouver Island
WatchWith over 200 wildfires burning across B.C., Vancouver Island is preparing for a summer of haze and smoke. Kori Sidaway reports.

Right now in Victoria, there’s a thin layer of haze, but experts are warning soon the smoke is going to get thicker.

Smoke from wildfires burning across North America is now making its way to Vancouver Island, and is the start of what experts say will be a long season of smoky skies.

“There are fires out and about everywhere across western North America, and this is going to be a problem throughout the entire summer,” said Doug Lundquist, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

“Usually we don’t start talking about smoke until late July or into August, so it’s about a month early. And I don’t see any reprieve in the weather, with any major moisture coming to help this situation.”

Adding fuel to the fire is temperatures, which meteorologists like Lundquist expect to be warmer than average this summer. Meanwhile, British Columbia’s interior is due for more thunderstorms, with the likelihood of lightning strikes sparking more fires, meaning more smoke.

“It’s not like it doesn’t happen every year, so it’s a good idea to be prepared because smoke is actually really bad for your lungs,” said Samantha Demooy, the manager of Central Saanich’s Home Hardware, where preparation for the smoke is already underway.

The shop has a delivery of furnace filters, hepa filters and air cleaning systems being delivering this afternoon, but they’re expected the material to go quick.

“It’s kinda been a one shot deal if you don’t have it by the time the smoke hits, you’re probably not going to get it,” warned Demooy.

Thankfully Vancouver Island has its own natural filter: ocean wind.

And if it blows from the west from the opean ocean, it allows for some much needed relief.

But if previous years are any indication, winds might not be enough to clear the air this summer.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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