Metro Vancouver residents urged to prepare for smoky skies amid B.C. wildfires

Metro Vancouver could get hazy. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Bayne Stanley

With wildfires raging across the province, residents on B.C.’s south coast are being urged to prepare for the possibility of smoky skies.

Dr. Ingrid Taylor of Fraser Health says air quality in Metro Vancouver is going to get worse if and when the haze arrives as wildfire smoke carries fine particulate matter.

Click to play video: 'Wildfire smoke causes air quality concerns across Canada'
Wildfire smoke causes air quality concerns across Canada

She said residents should look for clean air spaces in their communities. Anyone with chronic conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should get their medications ready since smoke could arrive at any time.

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“In some places, the smoke could be very heavy and that can cause serious impacts for people with existing health conditions who may have trouble breathing or put stress on their heart if they spend too much time outside in these smoky conditions,” Taylor said.

Click to play video: 'State of emergency declared in B.C.; wildfire explodes in wine country'
State of emergency declared in B.C.; wildfire explodes in wine country

Taylor added that the smoke could also pose a health risk to older adults and younger children.

Fraser Health says residents should keep windows and doors closed if they can do so without overheating. Other measures include using a HEPA filter, staying hydrated, and reducing time outdoors as well as cut down on strenuous activity.

Read more: B.C.’s top doctor talks masks, vaccinations during wildfire season

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said last week that wearing a mask may offer a form of protection from some particulate matter.

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“The three-layer cloth or disposable masks that we’ve been using for COVID, those also can help prevent the inhalation of some of the larger particulate matters, in particular, and may help when you have to be outside during wildfire smoke,” Henry said.

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