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Tracking Air Quality of Wildfire Smoke & Other Irritants

The air we breathe is so important. In fact, getting fresh air is one of the main reasons people go camping and RVing. Before you head out you may want to look into the air quality at your destination. 

Wildfires, especially in the summer, are the main reason for reduced air quality in British Columbia but are not the only irritants that can effect air quality.

Here are some helpful websites from which you can check on this across the province.

The British Columbia government has a helpful webpage for current air quality data that allows users to search by geographic ‘Air Zone’, weather station name or via an interactive map.

The government also has a webpage specific to the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) that provides ongoing readings and health warnings for its air monitoring stations across the province. 

Wildfires can reduce air quality due to excessive smoke which can spread over large areas depending on prevailing winds and elevation. The BC government also publishes helpful information online regarding the AQHI and wildfire smoke.

Public advisories known as Smoky Skies Bulletins are issued by the BC government when areas are being affected by wildfire smoke. These are based on pollutant concentrations, satellite information, smoke forecast models, and on-the-ground visual observations and are issued when areas are being impacted or have reasonable potential to be impacted by wildfire smoke within 24-48 hours. The public can sign up to its Air Quality Subscription Service to receive email or text message notifications.

For additional wildfire and smoke advisories visit the BlueSky Canada smoke forecast page. You can zoom in on its interactive map and view active wildfires across North America.

Environment Canada also issues public weather alerts for British Columbia and you can receive weather alerts for your area or for saved locations via its WeatherCAN app.