As the smog moved westward, the air quality caused by wildfire smoke in various British Columbia cities reached dangerous levels

For several days, thick smoke from wildfires enveloped the British Columbia cities of Kootenay and Okanagan. Now, Metro Vancouver is preparing for the spread of smoke to the coast this weekend.

On Saturday, the Canadian Ministry of Environment and Climate Change issued a special air quality statement for parts of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, warning that increased ozone levels caused by heat waves may pose a health threat. They also predict that wildfire smoke may move westward.

Federal meteorologist Derek Lee told the CBC News: “For many areas in the interior, our air quality health index is 10, which is a very high level. In areas where wildfires are concentrated.” “We are still monitoring some wildfire smoke that will enter coastal areas in the next few days.”

The Canadian Ministry of Environment and Climate Change issued a statement on Saturday predicting that “Monday changes are expected to bring overland winds to help clear the smog.”

It remains to be seen how bad the situation will become, but in cities close to the front lines of wildfires, fine particulate pollution has reached dangerous levels for human health. The impact on the elderly, young children and people with existing health conditions is even greater.

The number of fires increased by 60

On Saturday, the pollution level in Terrell, British Columbia was 43 times the highest recommended level. Kelowna reached a level 27 times above the safety limit.

“When we see very high value, we want to avoid very strenuous activities outdoors,” Lee explained

Canada’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change said that these cities have almost no signs of mitigation. But for the South Coast, meteorologists told CBC that changes in the weather on Monday should see the wind help clear the smog.

The British Columbia Wildfire Bureau stated that there are currently more than 243 wildfires burning across the province, an increase of 60 from last week.The most people burned in the Kamloops area

So far this year, a total of 4,780 square kilometers of land have been burned-an increase of 38% from the annual average of the past ten years.

On July 30, 2021, in thick wildfire smoke, children play on the hot beach near Okanagan Lake in inland British Columbia. (Situ Yongye/CBC)

Most active fires are believed to be caused by lightning, and more fires are expected in the coming days.

“We are predicting lightning,” Jean Strong of the BC Wildfire Service told CBC News on Saturday, “but we also expect precipitation, and we hope this may exceed the start of some lightning.”

At the same time, 60 evacuation orders were in place. No new orders were released on Saturday.

Anyone receiving an evacuation order should leave the area immediately.

Evacuation centers have been set up throughout the province to help anyone evacuating from communities threatened by wildfires.To find the center closest to you, please visit Emergency Management in British Columbia. Website.

Encourage evacuees to Emergency Support Service Online, regardless of whether they receive services in an evacuation center.

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