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Environment Canada extends smoky skies bulletin to Nanaimo, Parksville, Comox Valley

Air quality health index at moderate risk level
Environment Canada extended a smoky skies bulletin to Nanaimo, Parksville and the Comox Valley on Sunday, Sept. 11. (Justin Samanski-Langille/Black Press Media)

Smoky skies from far-off wildfires are having an effect on air quality on the central and north Island.

Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement about smoky skies from Nanaimo to the Comox Valley, following earlier advisories for the south Island.

Forecasters say wildfire smoke will continue to impact air quality in the area for the next 24 hours.

“Many regions in B.C. are being impacted by smoke from local wildfire activity in addition to smoke from several fires in the U.S. Locally, smoke conditions may worsen if fire activity increases later today,” noted the bulletin.

In Nanaimo, the air quality health index is at 5 out of 10, indicating moderate risk.

“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,” Environment Canada said.

Anyone within those high risk populations should reduce or reschedule strenuous activity. Those in the general population should also consider doing the same.

Some advice offered to help deal with the smoke is to reduce your activity level if breathing becomes uncomfortable or you feel ill and to stay cool and drink plenty of fluids. Those with asthma or chronic illness should carry any rescue medications with them at all times.

Mild irritation and discomfort from the smoke are common and will disappear quickly when the smoke does, the bulletin states, but people should monitor their symptoms – even indoors where smoke levels can be lower – and if they are unsure whether they need medical care should contact HealthLink B.C. at 811.

READ ALSO: Smoky skies bulletin extended for Cowichan Valley, Greater Victoria, as air quality rated poor

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