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

Teen sexually assaulted at Radley Beach

A sexual assault took place at Radley Beach in Burns Lake on… Continue reading

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

Pride crosswalk too expensive to install says municipal council

Mayor and council have asked staff to investigate whether a bench with a plaque supporting the LGBTQ+ community is feasible

Skeena Watershed reopened for recreational pink and coho

Four sections and tributaries remain closed

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Most Read