Smoky skies bulletin and air quality advisories have been issued for Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands due to wildfire smoke.
Environment and Climate Change Canada says all of Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands will be impacted over the next 24 to 48 hours, if they aren’t already, by wildfire smoke.
An air quality advisory has also been issued for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley due to the smoke, which is the result of wildfires burning southeast of Chilliwack, near Hope and in Washington state.
“People with pre-existing health conditions, respiratory infections such as COVID-19, older adults, pregnant women and infants, children, and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure,” Environment Canada said in a statement.
Issued Sunday afternoon, the bulletin and air quality advisory covers all of Greater Victoria; Sooke to Port Renfrew; Duncan to Ladysmith and Shawnigan Lake; Nanaimo, including Cedar, South Wellington and Cassidy; Nanoose Bay to Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Coombs; and Lake Cowichan to Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet and Nahmint.
Campbell River, the Comox Valley, including Black Creek and Cumberland, are also included in the bulletin. As is Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Port Alice, Bull Harbour, Alert Bay, Sayward, and Woss, Fanny Bay, Denman Island, Hornby Island, and Lasqueti Island and portions of Strathcona Park and Schoen Lake Provincial Park.
“If you or those in your care are exposed to wildfire smoke, consider taking extra precautions to reduce your exposure. Wildfire smoke is a constantly-changing mixture of particles and gases which includes many chemicals that can harm your health,” a statement on Environment Canada’s website reads.
When the AQHI is high, Environment Canada recommends that at-risk individuals reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors and that children as well as the elderly also “take it easy.”
For the general population, the weather agency recommend reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.
Elsewhere on Vancouver Island, the AQHI for Duncan has increased from low to moderate as of Sunday afternoon.
When the air quality index is moderate, individuals with heart or breathing problems should consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous outdoor activities if they are experiencing symptoms such as coughing or throat irritation.
For those who are not at risk, there is no need to modify “usual outdoor activities unless you experience symptoms,” according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Meanwhile, the AQHI for the Comox Valley, and Nanaimo remains low.
To view the province’s AQHI map in real-time, click here.
Wildfire smoke seen over Victoria on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (Nicholas Pescod/CHEK News)