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Smoky air forecast to affect Vancouver Island’s east coast until tomorrow

Environment Canada issues special air quality statement
A special air quality statement has been issued by Environment Canada for eastern Vancouver Island, including Nanaimo, due to smoke in the air. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Residents on the east coast of Vancouver Island are being advised of smoky air conditions forecast to last the next two days.

In a special air quality statement issued Tuesday, May 30, Environment Canada said wildfire smoke will affect the eastern part of Vancouver Island over the next 24-48 hours. Smoky conditions are expected to be “highly variable … as local winds change through the day.” Conditions can change in short order, across short distances, and can vary from hour to hour, the statement noted.

The smoke on the central Island is coming from the Newcastle Creek wildfire in the Sayward area, noted the Town of Ladysmith in a social media post.

Wildfire smoke is a health hazard even at low concentrations, said Environment Canada, and people can consider taking measures to reduce exposure.

Those with asthma, heart disease, the elderly, expectant mothers and those who work outdoors are at higher risk of experiencing health issues due to smoke. People should cease activities if their breathing becomes uncomfortable or if they feel unwell, the statement advised.

Residents should keep doors and windows closed if the temperature is comfortable, advised the statement. Heating and air-conditioning systems should utilize the highest-rated MERV filter (13 or higher) and the fan should be set to recirculate air constantly.

Air quality ratings of moderate risk are forecast for the rest of today and into the morning of Wednesday, May 31.

The Newcastle Creek wildfire was detected Monday, May 29 just after 1:30 p.m., is classified as out of control and 90 hectares in size, according to B.C. Wildfire Service. It is suspected to be human-caused.

According to the province, there are no wildfires reported in the Nanaimo area currently.

Environment Canada will issue another bulletin on May 31.

For more information, go to

RELATED: Fire crews continue to battle wildfire near Sayward

READ ALSO: New B.C. wildfire rules aim to prevent human-caused fires

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