FILE – Overlooking Arrow Lakes near Castlegar in summer 2018. (Dawn English/Submitted)

Province launches new alert system for smoky skies, air quality advisories

British Columbians can sign up for the emails, with texts expected to be available in 2020

People across B.C. can now sign up for alerts of potential or existing poor air quality in their communities.

The province has launched an email alert system, allowing British Columbians to sign up to automatically receive air quality advisories and smoky skies bulletins – both common in the spring and summer months.

“Poor air quality poses health risks to people with chronic conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and it can particularly affect the elderly, pregnant women, infants and small children,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, in a news release Thursday.

“The new auto-alert function will allow easy access to the level of risk in your area, so you can take steps to protect your health and the health of your family.”

WATCH: Metro Vancouver’s air quality could be the worst yet this wildfire season

There are currently 76 sites across the province that provide hourly data on the air quality to a central database where they are processed, stored and posted near real-time on the province’s website.

Air quality advisories are issued for individual communities when factors such as vehicle emissions, industrial emissions and residential wood burning cause air pollutant measurements to exceed the minimum level of provincial air quality.

Smoky skies bulletins are specific to wildfire smoke, which can occur over large distances and change quickly. The alerts are issued when areas of the province are being impacted or have reasonable potential to be impacted within 24 to 48 hours.

Wildfire smoke poses a particular risk to those with asthma or other respiratory conditions, said Sarah Henderson, senior environmental health scientist at the BC Centre for Disease Control.

The province said its working to make the alert system available through text starting next year.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Section of Island Highway north of Nanaimo isn’t safe

I hope politicians will do something about this issue, says letter writer

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Latest scam going around claims credit card misuse

Scam involves someone calling to report fictitious purchases on a credit card, says letter writer

Proposed 76-unit residential development would neighbour north Nanaimo mall

Council approves first and second reading of re-zoning application for 4961 Songbird Pl.

Map on Elections Canada site sends voters to Cedar landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

Nanaimo software designer creates hunting-themed card game

Duck Buck Moose involves skill, cunning and luck of the draw

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates compare, contrast platforms on debate stage

Energy policy, veterans’ affairs and more debated Thursday at Beban Park

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

Vancouver Island doctor rushed to help Hurricane Dorian victims days after his retirement

Potts was asked by Samaritan’s Purse to help at a field hospital in Freeport

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates share priorities and reasons for running

Eight of nine candidates in the riding respond to Black Press questionnaire

South Nanaimo cabin containing mining artifacts burns down

Cabin was unoccupied at time of incident, say firefighters

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Most Read