Environment Canada issued dozens air quality alerts for B.C. on Tuesday, as some 380 wildfires continue to burn across the province.
Wildfire smoke is expected to persist in the impacted areas for up to 48 hours and people are encouraged to limit their outdoor activity, as inhaling it can be dangerous even in low concentrations.
Alerts are in effect the entire Okanagan Valley, along with the Shuswap, Prince George, Similkameen, and the South and North Thompson; as well as the Kootenays, Cariboo, Yellowhead, West and North Columbia, Stuart-Nechako, Nicola, McGregor, Chilcotin, the Peace River region, Boundary, 100 Mile and Arrow Lakes-Slocan Lake.
Air quality advisories for Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Howe Sound were lifted Tuesday afternoon.
Unlike Monday, there are no alerts in place for Vancouver Island.
As of Monday, 27,000 British Columbians were under evacuation orders and about 35,000 were on standby to leave their homes at a moment’s notice.
Those who must spend time outdoors are advised by Environment Canada to consider a well-fitted, multi-layered face mask. The federal agency notes that people with pre-existing medical conditions, pregnant people, children and older adults are particularly vulnerable.
Tuesday’s Air Quality Health Index lists the entire province as having low or moderate risk level, without the presence of wildfire smoke. However, in Castlegar, the Okanagan Valley, Cranbrook, Kamloops, Prince George, Quesnel, Sparwood, and Williams Lake, Environment Canada indicates wildfire smoke can bring that risk level to high or very high levels.
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