FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A special air quality statement that was issued by Environment Canada last Wednesday because of a large amount of smoke in the air remains in effect for all of Northeast B.C. today.
Last week, officials with the Ministry of Environment said that at this point, it’s not entirely known where the smoke is coming from.
Air quality meteorologist Ralph Adams said that the smoke isn’t coming from any local fires in Northeast B.C., but could possibly be coming from fires burning in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and even as far away as Scandinavia and Siberia.
“The view at the moment is that it’s likely coming from there. It’s likely that this smoke is coming from Eurasia, but at this point, there’s no agreement.”
A map of all active wildfires on the BC Wildfire Service website shows that no new major fires have erupted in the B.C. Peace and Fort Nelson regions, where the fire danger rating is currently between very low and moderate.
Of the fires that have started in Northeast B.C. recently, most are either in unpopulated areas or are less than ten hectares in size.
People with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants, children and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects.
Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.
Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties. Find an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. If you open the windows you may let in more polluted air. If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned.
Be air aware! Check your local weather forecasts and alerts so you know when to take extra care.
For more information on current air quality, see: www.bcairquality.ca.
Visit www.airhealth.ca for information on how to reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels, as well as for current and forecast AQHI values.