Wildfire smoke clearing in B.C.: CDC

Tuesday saw unheard of levels of smoke

The residents of interior B.C. are getting a break from the smoke blanketing their communities, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.

“It was very smoky across the interior of the province [Tuesday], particularly the southeast in the Williams Lake area,” said Dr. Sarah Henderson. “Yesterday we observed some one-hour concentrations around Williams Lake of 600 micrograms per metre cubed, which is almost unprecedentedly high for the province.”

An interactive model of the smoke can be viewed here.

Henderson said that the smoke will be pushed north, where it will disperse.

The people most at risk are the elderly, the young and the immunocompromised, she noted.

“Smoke is made up of gases and very small particles. Those particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and they can irritate the lungs,” said Henderson. “They can also cause more systemic inflammation across the body and that can be hard on the heart and the brain.”

Pregnant women could see smaller babies if they much time in smokey areas.

“The birthweight of those children will be somewhat less than than it would have been without a smoke episode,” Henderson said.

The CDC recommends that those most at risk and anyone having a hard time with the smoke to create a clean air shelter.

“Using an appropriately-sized portable HEPA filtration unit or an electrostatic precipitator,” said Henderson. “You can also look for respite in buildings that may have better indoor air quality such as libraries, communities or shopping malls.”

Self-evacuating, even if not under evacuation order or alert, is also an option, she noted.