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Posted: July 25, 2021

Wildfire air quality precautions

Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of gases and fine particles that can affect air quality over vast geographic areas.

Most health effects of wildfire smoke are transient, meaning that they will disappear as the air quality improves. In general, health risks from short-term exposure to low or moderate levels of smoke during a wildfire event are considered to be low.

For individuals with chronic diseases such as respiratory illness or heart diseases, exposure to wildfire smoke may worsen pre-existing conditions.

Interior Health recommends using BC Ministry of Environment’s Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) as a guide for activity planning:

  • When AQHI is less than 6, outdoor work can take place if heat stress has also been factored in.
  • When AQHI is 7-10, consider suspending outdoor activities, except for emergency work provided it is not strenuous and for short duration. Ensure doors and windows are closed.
  • At AQHI greater than 10, remain indoors as much as possible. Ensure doors and windows remain closed.

The FireWork Forecast shows maps of predicted smoke impacts over the next 48 hours.

Interior Health


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