Wildfire smoke from the United States will again affect Nanaimo and areas on central Vancouver Island on Saturday, Sept. 12. (Karl Yu/Nanaimo News Bulletin)

Smoky skies enveloping Nanaimo and east Vancouver Island area

Wildfire smoke from U.S. leads to very high health risk rating on air quality health index

Smoke from wildfires in the United States will again envelop Nanaimo and areas of central Vancouver Island today, Sept. 12.

According to an air quality statement from Environment Canada, Nanaimo, as well as Duncan, an area from Nanoose Bay to Fanny Bay, Comox Valley and Campbell River will be areas impacted.

The air quality health index forecast for Nanaimo for today is 10+ (very high health risk).

Armel Castellan, Environment Canada meteorologist, said the conditions are expected to last until Sunday.

“The best way to characterize the pattern, meteorogically speaking, is stagnant,” said Castellan. “So there’s not that much movement and as a result, we’re going to be dealing with extensive smoke, widespread smoke, around all of the Salish Sea, both sides, Sunshine Coast and the east side of Vancouver Island into Port Alberni, down around to Port Renfrew.”

Castellan said the situation will get worse before it gets better, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“We’re going to start to see the Pacific air start to come through later on Sunday,” said Castellan. “So today and yesterday were really the worst and by Sunday we’re going to start to see a little bit of movement. We should even see some intermittent showers, but really no big accumulation … but it will be nice to have a change in pattern.”

The Nanaimo area saw smoky skies yesterday and Environment Canada is forecasting a high of 23 C, 27 C with the humidity index, today, with widespread smoke. A mix of sun and cloud is forecast for Sunday, Sept. 13, with a high of 24 C, 26 C with humidity, and widespread smoke. A 30 per cent chance of showers is forecast for Sunday night.

RELATED: Smoky skies expected through weekend in B.C.

Environment Canada is advising that people should take the smoky conditions into consideration when planning activities for the day as “wildfire smoke is a constantly-changing mixture of particles and gasses which includes many chemicals that can harm your health.”

People with heart conditions or breathing problems, are asked to avoid physically demanding activity. Children and the elderly should also avoid physical activity outdoors. The general population is advised to reschedule outdoor activity, particularly if people experience symptoms such as coughing, and throat irritation.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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