Sarah Henderson is a senior scientist with Environmental Health Services at the BCCDC. BCCDC photo

BCCDC releases new fact sheets on wildfire smoke preparedness

There’s currently little research on the longer-lasting health effects of wildfire smoke

As the 2019 wildfire season kicks off with gusto, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has released a new series of online fact sheets to help people protect themselves from inhaling wildfire smoke.

The summers of 2015, 2017 and 2018 each broke records for the worst B.C. wildfire seasons, with four B.C. communities ranking in the top 10 for worst air quality rates in Canada in 2018. The three communities with the worst air quality in the country in 2018 were all in the B.C. Interior: Quesnel, Prince George and Williams Lake.

READ MORE: Quesnel, Prince George and Williams Lake had worst air quality in Canada in 2018: report

“It’s really got people’s attention,” Sarah Henderson, a senior scientist with Environmental Health Services at the BCCDC, said in a press release.

“Based on what’s happened over the past few years, wildfire smoke will begin to dominate our lifetime exposure to air pollution. We need to prepare — and prepare early — for every wildfire season with the thought that it may be the worst season ever.”

There is currently little research on the longer-lasting health effects of wildfire smoke. In the absence of scientific evidence, the BCCDC recommends people take a more cautious approach to wildfire smoke.

The BCCDC also recommends members of the following groups reduce their exposure to wildfire smoke:

  • People with chronic conditions, especially lung and heart diseases
  • The elderly
  • Pregnant women
  • Infants and young children

Because people spend up to 90 per cent of their time indoors, the BCCDC recommends people purchase a portable air cleaner that uses HEPA filtration to remove smoke from the indoor air. Portable air cleaners can be moved between rooms, and they have been proven to reduce small particle concentrations in the air by 40 to 80 per cent.

The BCCDC also recommends that anyone with a chronic disease work with their doctor to create a management plan for smoky periods.

If a person requires rescue medications, they should ensure they have a supply at home and always carry the medicine with them. They should have a clear plan in the case that their rescue medicine does not bring their condition under control.

If someone is pregnant or caring for an infant during the summer months, the BCCDC recommends they make a plan to minimize smoke exposure.

The BCCDC also has more information available online to help people with wildfire smoke response planning. They also have a growing list of new fact sheets about the health effects of wildfire smoke, preparing for a wildfire smoke season and portable air cleaners for wildfire smoke.



community@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook

Just Posted

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

Skeena Watershed reopened for recreational pink and coho

Four sections and tributaries remain closed

Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidates react to finding Trudeau broke ethics law

The election campaign is heating up before the writ has even dropped

Burns Lake golfers to help end world hunger

Burns Lake residents will bring together charity and golf at the Grip… Continue reading

Houston area ski club proposes new community forest

Morice Mountain has ‘huge untapped potential’

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read