Wildfire smoke blankets B.C. and Alberta, prompting air quality advisories

About 25 new wildfires were sparked between Monday morning and midday Tuesday

Smoke from British Columbia wildfires blanketed part of western Canada from Vancouver Island to central Alberta on Tuesday, prompting air quality advisories in both provinces.

While much of B.C. has been under air quality warnings for days, Environment Canada said Tuesday all of western and central Alberta, including Calgary and Edmonton, will have poor air quality because of smoke from hundreds of B.C. fires.

The national weather agency warned that people may experience coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath, and children, seniors and those with cardiovascular or lung diseases are especially at risk.

“Pollution can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits,” the agency said in a statement. “Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties. Find an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated.”

Metro Vancouver regional district also extended an advisory for the region and the Fraser Valley because of high concentrations of fine particulate matter due to smoke.

READ MORE: A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

READ MORE: Wildfire smoke brings in air quality advisory for Lower Mainland

Residents in Vanderhoof in central B.C. reported thick smoke and black ash falling on Monday night due to fires including a 315-square-kilometre blaze west of the municipality, said fire information officer Ryan Turcot.

Some 564 wildfires were burning across B.C., displacing about 3,000 people and forcing nearly 18,000 more to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.

About 25 new wildfires were sparked between Monday morning and midday Tuesday, slightly less than in recent days, Turcot said. On Saturday alone, 143 new wildfires ignited.

There were 3,478 crew members working on the fires, including frontline firefighters and support workers behind the scenes. The federal government has agreed to send 200 troops to help with mop-up of contained fires, freeing BC Wildfire Service crews and other firefighters to head to more active fires where extra resources were necessary, said Turcot.

Hundreds of troops also pitched in last summer during the worst wildfire season on record in the province. But calling in the Armed Forces is relatively rare, he said, with the last time prior to 2017 believed to be in 2003.

“By the time we’ve looked at requesting federal assistance, that’s indicative of a well above-average fire season,” said Turcot.

The service has responded to about 1,792 wildfires in B.C. since April 1, compared with about 1,000 this time last year. But less land has burned, with 3,760 square kilometres scorched this year compared with 7,290 last year.

Lightning has sparked most of this year’s blazes but some 404 are believed to have been caused by humans. Turcot urged people to obey campfire bans and avoid any activities that could start new fires.

“That’s 404 human-caused wildfires that never had to happen,” he said.

“Given the amount of wildfires on the landscape that we’re already dealing with, the last thing we need thrown into that mix is more preventable human-caused wildfires.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Police cooperation leads to arrest and interception of stolen Langley truck

A pickup was stolen in Langley early Friday morning and crashed in Burnaby later in the day.

Extradition hearing set for Langley developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

Family dynamics comedy comes to the Langley Playhouse

Brad Williams is directing the fall production of a comedy, Be My Baby, at the Langley Playhouse.

Aldergrove remembers generous spirit of John Jones

Aldergrove Athletic Park soccer field to be named after community leader

Langley hosts woman whose story inspired Orange Shirt Day

A Williams Lake woman has been in schools this week and gives a public presentation Saturday.

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Most Read