British Columbia

Air quality 'high risk' for parts of B.C. due to wildfire

As wildfires continue to burn across the province, Environment Canada says the air quality in some B.C. municipalities is poor while others improve as smoke moves away.

Environment Canada's index also shows considerable improvement for some communities

Air quality in Prince George is currently at 'moderate risk' on Environment Canada's air quality index. (Nicole Oud/CBC)

As wildfires continue to burn across the province, Environment Canada's index shows while some communities continue to suffer from poor air quality, others have improved considerably due to the smoke moving east. 

The air quality is poorest in the communities of Quesnel and Williams Lake, both assessed at 7 and 8 out of 10 respectively on the air quality index or "high risk" as of Thursday at 11 a.m. PT. The entire Okanagan region, Prince George and Castlegar have been assessed as "moderate risk." 

Several other municipalities are under low to moderate risk including Kamloops, parts of Metro Vancouver and the eastern Fraser Valley. This is an improvement from earlier in the week when Metro Vancouver was ranked "high risk" on the index.

Much of the smoke from B.C.'s wildfires has moved into Alberta. Air quality in Calgary is at 10+ for the second consecutive day

Smoke from more than 500 B.C. wildfires is blowing east into Alberta. 0:23

Environment Canada says people with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants, children and sensitive individuals should take precautions in smoky conditions. 

The weather forecaster recommends:

  • Staying inside if you have breathing difficulties.
  • Finding an indoor place that's cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help.
  • Remembering If you open the windows, you may let in more polluted air.
  • Considering going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air conditioned if your residence is not.

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