August 24, 2018 7:30 am

B.C. wildfire smoke poses challenge for air ambulances

Smoke from distant wildfires obscures the view as a heavy haze blankets the city of Vancouver, B.C. on Tuesday, August 14, 2018.

THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Bayne Stanley
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The smoke and haze from the B.C. wildfires is adding another layer of risk for those who fly air ambulances in the province.

Bob Alexander is the manager for the specialized response team in Vancouver.

READ MORE: Transition has begun to cooler, fresher air in Metro Vancouver

“We look at each one of those calls with a great bit of concern for the risk, we fly 24/7 through days and nights. Weather and the air conditions are a problem for us,” he said.

Alexander said this week, the air in the Fraser Valley was so poor that a baby had to be transported by ground rather than air.

“These issues with smoke and poor weather, they slow us down a bit, but we do our best daily to get in,” he said.

READ MORE: No long-term health impacts from 2018’s wildfire smoke: B.C. health officer

“We have backup plans for in the event we can’t get into the closest airport on any call, we have alternate airports we can make sure we can get into.”

He said they respond to about 1,400 calls per year.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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