Wildfire smoke advisory issued for Sea to Sky corridor

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      The B.C. Ministry of Environment and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority have put out a wildfire smoke advisory for the Sea to Sky corridor and surrounding areas.

      Today (July 6), they issued the advisory because of "forest fire smoke that is affecting areas from Howe Sound through Squamish and Whistler to Pemberton and surrounding areas", according to a news release.

      "Smoke concentrations will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change. This situation is expected to persist until meteorological conditions change," the release states.

      The ministry and health authority offer the following advice to people in the area: "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."

      Their release also says that smoke levels may be lower indoors.

      "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."

      Meanwhile, an air quality advisory remains in effect for Metro Vancouver due to smoke from forest fires.

      On Sunday (July 5), the Surrey Fire Service said it had received many calls about the haze.

      "We have also experienced a marked increase in grass fires, bark mulch fires and fires in boulevards and along roadways, as a result of the hot dry weather and the careless disposal of smoking material. As a result we have responded to 60 of these types of calls in the last 12 hour period compared to 1 call of this nature in the same time period one year ago," the fire department stated.

      "If calling to report a fire, please ensure you can provide the location of the fire source or where the column of smoke originates.

      "In light of the continuing weather pattern and the extremely dry conditions, we would like to remind the public to maintain their diligence in taking all precautions in the handling and disposal of cigarettes and smoking related material."