A smoky skies bulletin issued Friday has been expanded to include all of Vancouver Island as wildfires continue to burn across the province.
The provincial bulletin was in effect for west, inland and south Vancouver Island. Now the entire island is under a smoky skies bulletin, along with northern B.C. (Dease Lake to Fort Nelson), eastern B.C., the central and southern interior and the central and south coast, due to smoke from wildfires across the province.
B.C.’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and Island Health said people with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants, children and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure.
To reduce exposure, the following steps are recommended:
• Smoke levels may be lower indoors but will still be elevated, so stay aware of your symptoms even when you are indoors.
• Running a commercially available HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can improve indoor air quality in the room where the device is located.
• If you have a forced air heating/cooling system in your home, it may help to change the filter and set the fan to run continuously.
• Reduce indoor air pollution sources such as smoking, burning incense, and frying foods.
• Consider going to a library, community center, or shopping mall with cooler filtered air to get some relief from the smoke.
• If travelling in a car with air conditioning, keep the windows up and the ventilation set to recirculate.
• If you are very sensitive to smoke, consider moving to another location with cleaner air, but be aware that conditions can change rapidly.
• Maintaining good overall health is a good way to prevent health effects resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.
Crews are battling nearly 600 wildfires in B.C. and the forecast calls for more hot, dry weather.
With files from The Canadian Press