Wildfire smoke from the United States will again affect Nanaimo and areas on central Vancouver Island on Saturday, Sept. 12. (Karl Yu/Nanaimo News Bulletin)

Smoky skies enveloping east area of central Vancouver Island

Wildfire smoke from U.S. leads to very high health risk rating on air quality health index

Smoke from wildfires in the United States will envelop an eastern area of central Vancouver Island today, Sept. 12.

According to an air quality statement from Environment Canada, Nanaimo, as well as Duncan, an area from Nanoose Bay to Fanny Bay, Comox Valley and Campbell River, will be areas impacted.

As of 11:30 a.m. today, the air quality health index readings at stations for Nanaimo, Duncan and Comox Valley are 10+ (very high health risk).

Armel Castellan, Environment Canada meteorologist, said the conditions are expected to last until Sunday.

“The best way to characterize the pattern, meteorogically speaking, is stagnant,” said Castellan. “So there’s not that much movement and as a result, we’re going to be dealing with extensive smoke, widespread smoke, around all of the Salish Sea, both sides, Sunshine Coast and the east side of Vancouver Island into Port Alberni, down around to Port Renfrew.”

Castellan said the situation will get worse before it gets better, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“We’re going to start to see the Pacific air start to come through later on Sunday,” said Castellan. “So today and yesterday were really the worst and by Sunday we’re going to start to see a little bit of movement. We should even see some intermittent showers, but really no big accumulation … but it will be nice to have a change in pattern.”

RELATED: Smoky skies expected through weekend in B.C.

Environment Canada is advising that people should take the smoky conditions into consideration when planning activities for the day as “wildfire smoke is a constantly-changing mixture of particles and gasses which includes many chemicals that can harm your health.”

People with heart conditions or breathing problems, are asked to avoid physically demanding activity. Children and the elderly should also avoid physical activity outdoors. The general population is advised to reschedule outdoor activity, particularly if people experience symptoms such as coughing, and throat irritation.


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