FILE – Overlooking Arrow Lakes near Castlegar in summer 2018. (Dawn English/Submitted)

Province launches new alert system for smoky skies, air quality advisories

British Columbians can sign up for the emails, with texts expected to be available in 2020

People across B.C. can now sign up for alerts of potential or existing poor air quality in their communities.

The province has launched an email alert system, allowing British Columbians to sign up to automatically receive air quality advisories and smoky skies bulletins – both common in the spring and summer months.

“Poor air quality poses health risks to people with chronic conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and it can particularly affect the elderly, pregnant women, infants and small children,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, in a news release Thursday.

“The new auto-alert function will allow easy access to the level of risk in your area, so you can take steps to protect your health and the health of your family.”

WATCH: Metro Vancouver’s air quality could be the worst yet this wildfire season

There are currently 76 sites across the province that provide hourly data on the air quality to a central database where they are processed, stored and posted near real-time on the province’s website.

Air quality advisories are issued for individual communities when factors such as vehicle emissions, industrial emissions and residential wood burning cause air pollutant measurements to exceed the minimum level of provincial air quality.

Smoky skies bulletins are specific to wildfire smoke, which can occur over large distances and change quickly. The alerts are issued when areas of the province are being impacted or have reasonable potential to be impacted within 24 to 48 hours.

Wildfire smoke poses a particular risk to those with asthma or other respiratory conditions, said Sarah Henderson, senior environmental health scientist at the BC Centre for Disease Control.

The province said its working to make the alert system available through text starting next year.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

Opening night lineup for online Roots & Blues festival released

The first night of the festival on Aug. 14 will be stacked with favourites from previous years

July Kootenay real estate sales at record high

Sales and prices of Kootenay real estate on the rise

Dust on Crust bring bluegrass to Golden

The band came together at the Wolf’s Den jam nights and have been playing bluegrass ever since

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Local state of emergency declared near Okanagan home

Slope failure cited as City of Penticton issues notice at home in 600 block of Heather Road

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Therapeutic art for sale at Okanagan show

17th annual Awakening the Spirit Art Show and Sale presented by Vernon Canadian Mental Health Assoc.

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Tech mogul growing North Okanagan’s wine industry

The founder of online dating site Plenty of Fish is developing 900 acres in Vernon

Fentanyl-laced powder being sold as cocaine in Kamloops

Interior Health has released a warning about very strong fentanyl in Kamloops

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

North Okanagan ranch needs support to stay afloat

Founded in 1867, a fundraiser has been launched for the Historic O’Keefe Ranch

Most Read