(Conan Chee Photography)

A State of Emergency has been declared by Premier Eby due to the ongoing and record setting wildfire season this year which has created another issue British Columbians are trying to navigate — smoke.

On Monday, August 21st, the province issued a smoky skies bulletin as winds started to carry smoke away from their origin points and dispersed it throughout much of BC. 

With over 382 active wildfires, many of which are massive and still growing, there is a lot of smoke being released into our atmosphere as well as huge wildfires in Washington and the Northwest Territories are also contributing to BC’s poor air quality.


“During a wildfire, smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour,” the province said in their advisory. 

“Wildfire smoke is a natural part of our environment but it is important to be mindful that exposure to smoke may affect your health.”

Smoke can impact some people more than others — especially those with existing conditions such as asthma, respiratory infections and COVID-19. Pregnant women and children are also more sensitive to health impacts smoky air can have. 

The province recommends people in areas under advisory stop or reduce outdoor activity if breathing becomes difficult, stay well-hydrated, those affected by respiratory illness carry any medications on their person and make sure children similarly affected do the same. 

As of this publication, Environment Canada’s Air Quality Index (AQI) has a list of the impacted areas of BC which includes the south and east portions of Vancouver Island as well as most of the interior of the province. 

(Province of BC)

Much of Vancouver island is forecasted to hover around a rating of two to three on the AQI over the next few days, including Courtenay, Comox, Nanaimo, Duncan and Greater Victoria; however, this could change depending on incoming wind patterns. 

The most heavily impacted regions are those around Kamloops and throughout the Okanagan Valley which are between 8 and 10+, indicating severe smoky conditions. 

The smoke advisory is expected to last for up to 48 hours, or until Wednesday morning, but the bulletin is updated daily.

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