Wednesday, August 22, 2018 / Published in Uncategorised

Wow! It’s smoky out there!

A lot of students tell us that one of their favourite things about Victoria is the clean air. Unfortunately, that is not true this week! As you can see, the air is thick and smoky. I even saw small pieces of ash floating down from the sky yesterday morning.

Why? The smoke is from the hundreds of forest fires burning across BC. You can a map of the fires on this BC government website: https://governmentofbc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=ef6f11c8c36b42c29e103f65dbcd7538

Scary! As you can see, although the smoke is bad in Victoria, it is even worse in the interior (centre) of BC. News reports are saying that BC’s air quality this week is among the worst in the world. This BC government website is the Air Quality Health Index: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/bcairquality/readings/find-stations-map.html . It shows the health risk in different parts of the province. You can click on “low,” “moderate,” “high,” or “very high” (at the top right of the page) to see an explanation of each category. It will also tell you if you should consider reducing (doing less) or avoiding (stopping) physical activity.

Should you wear a mask? Maybe. Some masks will help, but some won’t. You have to get the right kind. This factsheet, from the Washington State Department of Health, gives more information about masks: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/334-353.pdf .

Here is a picture of Patti’s dog Jinju. She’s hiding because she has a heart murmur and has extra difficulty breathing because of the smoke.

Hopefully the air will clear up soon. I heard on the radio this morning that rain is expected this weekend! Until then, I hope everybody stays healthy and safe.