Where There’s Smoke…. There’s a Health Risk
Prince George, B.C. – Smoke from the fires south of Prince George is being tracked by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECC).
If you click here, or on the image above, the Blue Sky app, will show you where the smoke is expected to go.
“Smoke has become an issue across much of the Interior of B.C. and much of the lower mainland as well” says Dr. Bonnie Henry, Deputy Provincial Health Officer for B.C.
Dr. Henry says the situation is “very challenging” as those who are in the thickest smoke, are also those who are closest to the fires. “We do have a response for forest fire smoke that we have been working on in a coordinated way with the Ministry of the Environment and others” She says they have been meeting regularly over the past few days to get a better understanding of what’s going on.
“Forest fire smoke is complex and it’s a dynamic mixture of gases and very small particles depending on what is burning and the nature of the landscape. It can irritate, particularly the respiratory system, which is no surprise when you breathe in this smoke and particles. It can also cause acute effects around exacerbation of asthma, or Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, it can cause eye irritation, skin irritation as well.”
She says air quality in the affected areas can be variable for days or weeks, “We have experience from previous fire seasons in that the peak of the health affects may not be felt for several weeks after the peak events.”,
She says in addition to physical health impacts, the smoke can have an impact on mental health. She says it is important for those who have a chronic condition have their medications on hand at all times and that people have a plan for what to do if their condition gets worse .”Really importantly, we recommend people stay indoors. Reduce the amount of time you spend outdoors to protect your health, and reduce outdoor physical activity in particular because that increases the amount of particles you inhale deep into your lungs.”