QUALITY ALERT: Wildfire smoke brings regional health warning

Beware the air out there, New West

Wildfire smoke rolls into region

While more than 560 wildfires burn across the province, it may come as no surprise to hear that B.C. and areas of Alberta now have the worst air quality in North America, according to climate science analysis website Berkeley Earth.

Air pollution is increasing due to wildfire smoke and may cause health problems. There's so much smoke that KIRO 7 meteorologist Nick Allard says the haze will shave several degrees off the daytime high temperature, which is expected to top out in the mid 80s.

"Some smoke from fires, primarily in British Columbia, has moved down and affected the whole Puget Sound region", Wineke said.

New West, on the heels of the fallout from Friday's Fraser River barge fire, had briefly seen a clearing of the air thanks to clean marine air that swept through the region.

The poor air quality is most likely to affect the elderly, young or those with chronic health conditions.

Limit your physical activity outdoors, such as running, bicycling, physical labor, and sports.

The pollution created by the smoke and particles in the air can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, and more doctor/emergency room/hospital visits.

Unhealthy smoky air has continued to blanket Seattle, Portland, Oregon and the region.

Environment Canada advises staying inside if you have difficulty breathing and to find an indoor place that's cool and ventilated.

Avoid driving, when possible. If you must drive, keep the windows closed.

With air now rated as unhealthy, even healthy people may have symptoms such as dry eyes, coughing and sinus irritation.

If you can see, taste, or feel smoke, contact your local health department and/or primary healthcare provider.

Air quality conditions may change quickly.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency recommends people check with healthcare professionals if they have specific concerns or questions.

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