Environment Canada calling for cool temperatures and rain this weekend
The Air Quality Index in Castlegar has improved to ‘unhealthy’ from yesterday’s ‘hazardous – a dramatic improvement, but that’s the least of today’s good news.
Environment Canada is now calling for low temperatures and rain over the weekend, beginning Thursday night, and carrying on, potentially, through until at least Monday (see forecast here https://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/bc-21_metric_e.html ).
This, after weeks of relentless heat and very little precipitation have rendered the province dry and fire prone, with 399 wildfires this season (beginning April 1) in the Southeast Fire Centre alone (as of Aug. 20), and 1,925 province-wide. Hectares burned in this fire centre so far total 34,012 and province-wide 612,124, according to BC Wildfire Service.
Castlegar Fire Chief Sam Lattanzio said he expects this to have a positive impact on conditions – if the forecast is correct.
“Any rain is good,” he said. “But it would take a significant amount of rain to quell any threat of forest fires at this point.”
Air Quality is expected remain low, as per the following Environment Canada Special Air Quality Statement:
Smoky skies will continue across most of the province for the next few days. Local smoke levels may vary based on wind direction and fire characteristics but, until a significant change in the provincial weather pattern occurs, widespread air quality improvements are not expected.
During a wildfire, smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour.
Wildfire smoke is a natural part of our environment but it is important to be mindful that exposure to smoke may affect your health.
People with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants, children and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure.
The bulletin can be accessed online at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/
For general information about wildfire smoke and your health, contact HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 (toll free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties. Find an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. If you open the windows you may let in more polluted air. If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned.
Be air aware! Check your local weather forecasts and alerts so you know when to take extra care.
For more information on current air quality, see: www.bcairquality.ca.
Visit www.airhealth.ca for information on how to reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels, as well as for current and forecast AQHI values.