Heavy smoke in Northeast B.C. from fires in the Central Interior

This map shows the smoke covering Northeast B.C.

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Heavy smoke from fires in the Central Interior of B.C. has blanked Northeast B.C.

There are reports of heavy smoke throughout northeast B.C. and Fire Information Officer Amanda Reynolds confirms due to increased fire activity in the Cariboo and a shift in the winds, our region will see heavy smoke for much of the day Sunday.

This weekend, the wind shifted to come from the South, which has caused the smoke to move out to the Vancouver area and now into our region.

There are small fires near Tumbler Ridge, Hasler Flats and a very small new fire Northwest of Fort St. John, but all of these are not producing the smoke Northeast B.C. is experiencing today.  We will post an update on fires in our region later today.

According to the website firesmoke.ca, Northeast B.C. will see smoke for most of the day today, before the winds blow it out of our region late Sunday night.

As of 10 p.m. Sunday, the forecast predicts most of the smoke should move out of Northeast B.C.
This map shows the smoke in our area as of 9 a.m. Sunday.

Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for all of Northeast B.C.

Here is a copy of the full air quality statement.

The Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy, in collaboration with the Interior and Northern Health Authorities has continued the Smoky Skies Bulletin due to smoke conditions.

Smoke concentrations will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change.

Avoid strenuous outdoor activities. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider: difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and lung or heart disease.

This bulletin will remain in effect until further notice.

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.

People with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, can be particularly sensitive to air pollution. They will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels. Pollution can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital visits.

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.