Wildfire smoke advisory issued for Grand Forks and area

The Ministry of Environment and IH has issued a smoke advisory for the area.

  • Aug. 11, 2014 6:00 p.m.

Aug 11, 2014 09:00 PDT – Cranbrook. The Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the Interior Health Authority has issued a Smoke Advisory for Grand Forks and surrounding areas because of forest fire smoke that is affecting some areas. Smoke concentrations will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change.

Current hourly average PM2.5 concentrations are 40 micrograms per cubic metre, and the 24-hour average is 44 micrograms per cubic metre. The high concentrations of smoke are a result of the long distance transport of smoke from active wildfires in the state of Washington. Smoke dispersion models suggest that these conditions will persist through the next few days. This advisory will be updated on Tuesday, August 12th.

Avoid strenuous outdoor activities. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider: difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and lung or heart disease.

For more information on current air quality, see: www.bcairquality.ca.

 

Tips to reduce your personal health risk:

 People with heart or lung conditions may be more sensitive to the effects of smoke and should watch for any change in symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure. If any symptoms are noted, affected individuals should take steps to reduce their exposure to smoke and if necessary see their physician. People with symptoms should go to their health care provider, walk in clinic or emergency department depending on severity of symptoms.

 Use common sense regarding outdoor physical activity – if your breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity.

 Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids.

 Smoke levels may be lower indoors, however levels of smoke particles will still be increased. If you stay indoors, be aware of your symptoms.

Consider visiting a location like a shopping mall with cooler filtered air. Keep in mind that staying indoors may help you stay cool and provide some relief from the smoke, however many air conditioning systems do not filter the air or improve indoor air quality.

 Reduce indoor pollution sources such as smoking or burning other materials.

 You may be able to reduce your exposure to smoke by moving to cleaner air. Conditions can vary dramatically by area and elevation.

 Residents with asthma or other chronic illness should activate their asthma or personal care plan.

 Pay attention to local air quality reports, air quality may be poor even though smoke may not be visible.

 Commercially available HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters can further reduce poor indoor air quality near the device.

 Maintaining good overall health is a good way to prevent health effects resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.

For general information about smoke and your health, contact HealthLink BC available toll free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 8-1-1, or via the web at: http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/kbaltindex.asp.

 Real-time air quality information in Grand Forks and other communities in B.C. is available at http://www.bcairquality.ca.

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