British Columbia·Photos

What the smoke? Poor air quality part of daily life for many in B.C.

Environment Canada has issued air quality bulletins for 36 different regions of the province, while a provincial health officer reports a surge in hospital visits due to smoke.

Special air quality bulletin issued for 36 B.C. regions, surge in hospital visits due to smoke

Smoky skies didn't stop sightseers from taking the Sea to Sky gondola in Squamish on Saturday. (Tanya Fletcher/CBC)

It's been another day of hazy skies and smoky air in many parts of British Columbia.

Environment Canada continues to issue bulletins regarding air quality, including 36 on Saturday from regions from as far north as Prince George to the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

The rising number of alerts — up from 31 on Friday — are due to high concentrations of particulate matter from wildfires that are expected to persist until there is a change in the weather.

The suns glows orange as it rises over Deep Cove B.C. (Laurel Parsons)

On Friday, forecasters said the South Coast might be in for a reprieve from the smoky conditions, but a change in winds did not materialize.

The normally idyllic view from the ferry line up at Horseshoe Bay was obscured by wildfire smoke on Saturday, August 5, 2017. (Meghan McMenamie)

Dr. Bonnie Henry, a deputy provincial health officer, said there has been a near-50 per cent increase in hospital visits due to poor air quality compared to each of the past ten years.

Paddlers try to enjoy English Bay despite smoky skies. (Dan Haddock/Twitter)

People with chronic underlying medical conditions, infants and the elderly can be at risk from poor air quality.

Officials like Henry say it's important to watch for symptoms such as chest discomfort, shortness or breath, coughing or wheezing.

"Water is your best friend," said Henry noting it's important to stay hydrated while air quality is poor and temperatures are high.

Siwash Rock along the seawall in Vancouver in a smoky haze. (Curt Petrovich)

Indoor spaces with air conditioning may offer relief from both heat and air pollution.

Meanwhile, many residents have been venting their frustrations over the poor air quality on social media, while also posting dramatic photographs of conditions.

Smoky skies across B.C. have made for dramatic looking skies. (Hugh Griffith/Twitter)


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