Vancouver’s air quality affected as several wildfires rage
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As wildfires raged through British Columbia this weekend a number of local municipalities were forced to shut down during the holiday rush.
The city saw about 50 fires, some large. As the night fell, the city of Vancouver saw fires burning in the West End and elsewhere.
“We do appreciate that there’s a holiday weekend but there’s no excuse for causing any harm to people and especially the elderly and people with serious respiratory conditions,” Vancouver’s mayor, Gregor Robertson, said in a statement.
At least a dozen people reportedly lost their lives as a result of these fires. Another six were hospitalized.
Vancouver is asking people to stay indoors as the air quality dips as the winds pick up. Here is a breakdown of what the BC Coroners Service is saying about the air quality in the city.
Vancouver Fire Department
“We expect air quality to drop a little bit more tomorrow and into tonight,” Vancouver Fire spokesman Rob Kellow told NEWS 1130 on Saturday morning. “We did see an overall reduction from Monday night when the winds were going through the area, and then the winds picked up on Tuesday night.”
“Once they get a little stronger, they can be very deadly. Fire will be the death sentence but smoke is also the death sentence. So there’s a pretty good chance they’ll increase the severity of the fires.”
The fire department will take extra precautions this morning and will focus on putting out fires as the winds pick up, Kellow says.
People who are sick should not wait to make their way to the medical center, Kellow says. “The medical center is always ready when it is needed.” he says.
Vancouver Coastal Health
“We would like to remind our community and the general public that we need to take extra steps when it is cold windy and dry winds,” Vancouver Coastal Health’s media relations coordinator Michelle Taylor says.
“It is important to be aware that people who are sick should not wait to make their way to a health care facility. We need to be prepared.”
Taylor says the hospital will open at 11 a.