Saturday August 26, 2023 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated 4 pm on August 27, 2023]
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends
There is widespread smoke blanketing much of the province today, says the Air Quality Section of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in a Smoky Skies Bulletin – August 26, 2023. Update August 27:
“Widespread smoke continues to blanket much of the province, with no expected change until tomorrow (starting on the Island and Lower Mainland). Some of the smoke is remaining aloft, but many regions are being impacted on the ground. Outflow winds continue to push smoke
from the Interior towards the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. Localized and intermittent pulses of smoke continue to impact many regions in the Southern Interior, North Coast and Central Interior.”
Regions of BC highlighted on the map for August 26 BC Air Quality map are being impacted or are likely to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24 to 48 hours.
That includes the Greater Victoria area on south Vancouver Island and the east side of south Vancouver Island. As of 5 pm August 26 there is still a haze of smoke in the west shore area, but with the sun shining through more than in last weekend’s heavier haze.
Some aloft, some on the ground:
“Some of it is remaining aloft, but many areas are being impacted on the ground,” says BC Air Quality in their August 26 bulletin.
“Outflow winds continue to push smoke from the Southern Interior towards the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. Localized and intermittent pulses of smoke continue to impact many regions in the Southern Interior, North Coast and Central Interior.”
“These conditions are expected to persist through the weekend.”
In fact, as of 5 am on Sunday August 27, the particulate in the air in the west shore (Colwood air monitoring station) is back up toward levels seen last week; even pre-dawn the sky has an orange tinge. The peak was last Sunday, August 20.
Air Quality Index:
The Air Quality Index for Victoria and the West Shore are in the Low Risk range: 3 for both tomorrow and tomorrow night (August 27), and then 2 for Monday.
AQHI Index Values:
The BC Air Quality index values are in four risk ranges: Low, Moderate, High and Very High.
Today’s 4 to 6 range in the west shore is Moderate risk. Moderate risk is defined with these recommendations:
- At risk population: Consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you are experiencing symptoms.
- General population: No need to modify your usual outdoor activities unless you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.
Next updates – August 27 & 28:
Bulletin updates are issued daily during Smoky Skies event.
The bulletin can be accessed online at https://www.gov.bc.ca/airqualityadvisories
Click to see current Air Quality Health Index map for the west shore
Prevent smoke from coming indoors:
During a wildfire, smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour.
Wildfire smoke is a natural part of the environment but it is important to be mindful that exposure to smoke may affect your health.
Try to prevent wildfire smoke from entering your home by sealing doors and windows and keep them closed as long as the temperature indoors is comfortable, says the BC Ministry of Health today in a news release.
People with respiratory conditions (e.g. asthma or any pulmonary disease) are more likely to experience adverse effects from smoke, says BC Health. Also at higher risk are people with heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and older adults. Pregnant women, infants and children should also take precautions to reduce smoke exposure, says BC Health.
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.
Wildfire smoke contains particulates that require more work by the the lungs. Components of the fire retardant chemicals that are used to combat the fires are also in the air. Particulates that are inhaled deep into the lungs can cause inflammation and irritation.
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