Buildings in West Vancouver, B.C., are obscured due to the heavy smoke in the air Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. Heavy smoke and poor air quality have been caused due to the wildfires burning south of the border. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Bulkley Valley starts to see minor impact from U.S. wildfire smoke

Air quality improves slightly for the province as a whole

Wildfire smoke from the United States will start to slightly impact the Bulkley Valley today and tomorrow. By this afternoon Environment Canada (EC) forecasts the Air Quality Health Index — measured on a scale of one to 10+ — will reach three for Smithers.

This is still in the “low risk” range, in which EC advises at-risk individuals may still enjoy their usual outdoor activities and is ideal for outdoor activities for the general population.

Meanwhile, air quality in British Columbia has improved slightly overall, but an advisory on smoke that drifted north was still in effect on Tuesday.

The advisory was initiated on Sept. 8 for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District because of smoke from fires in Washington and Oregon.

Metro Vancouver says while the air quality did improve slightly, ground-level smoke still remains and it is expected to remain through the week.

It says a change in the weather on Friday may help improve the air quality through the weekend.

A fire at a timber wharf continued to burn in New Westminster on Tuesday after catching fire on Sunday night, which Metro Vancouver says was causing “considerable local smoke.”

Canada Post cancelled delivery services for several parts of British Columbia on Monday because of the wildfire smoke and deliveries remained suspended for some communities on Tuesday including Castlegar, Duncan, the Okanagan Valley, Trail and White Rock.

The corporation said air quality over central and southern B.C. made delivery unsafe for its workers.

It resumed deliveries in other parts of central and southern British Columbia but warned there could be delays. Areas that could see mail delivery today include Courtenay, Cranbrook, parts of Metro Vancouver, Nanaimo, Nelson, Vernon and the Greater Victoria area.

Environment Canada also maintained poor air quality advisories for a large swath of the southern part of the province and says the smoke has now reached six Canadian provinces.

READ MORE: Here’s how you and your pet can stay safe from the wildfire smoke blanketing B.C.

The Canadian Press

With files from Thom Barker


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