As a result of the 3,071-hectare Doctor Creek Wildfire near Canal Flats, the East Kootenay region has been placed under a Smoky Skies Bulletin from BC Air Quality, Environment Canada, and Interior Health.
The Air Quality Advisory will remain in effect until further notice as the wildfire smoke is expected to affect the Columbia Valley including Invermere, as well as Kimberley and Cranbrook the south. The Elk Valley is not included in the bulletin.
“People with pre-existing health conditions, respiratory infections such as COVID-19, older adults, pregnant women and infants, children, and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure,” said BC Air Quality in the Smoky Skies Bulletin.
The following health tips were provided by BC Air Quality given the Air Quality Advisory for the region:
- Stop or reduce your activity level if breathing becomes uncomfortable or you feel unwell
- Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids
- If you have asthma or other chronic illness, carry any rescue (fast-acting) medications with you at all times and activate your personal care plan that has been designed with your family physician
- Make sure that children and others who cannot care for themselves follow the same advice
As well BC Air Quality gave general tips to reduce your smoke exposure:
- Smoke levels may be lower indoors but will still be elevated, so stay aware of your symptoms even when you are indoors
- Running a commercially available HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter can improve indoor air quality in the room where the device is located
- If you have a forced-air heating/cooling system in your home, it may help to change the filter and set the fan to run continuously
- Reduce indoor air pollution sources such as smoking, burning incense, and frying foods
- If travelling in a car with air conditioning, keep the windows up and the ventilation set to recirculate
- If you are very sensitive to smoke, consider moving to another location with cleaner air, but be aware that conditions can change rapidly
- Maintaining good overall health is a good way to prevent health effects resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.
MORE: Smoky Skies Bulletin – August 23, 2020 (B.C. Government)