Smoke-filled air envelopes southern B.C., as provincial wildfires turn deadly

The Canadian Press / Jonathan Hayward
The Canadian Press / Jonathan Hayward

VANCOUVER – A heavy blanket of stagnant grey haze has settled over British Columbia’s south coast as winds push smoke south from the many forest fires burning across the province.

Air quality advisories have been issued for Metro Vancouver, the east and south coasts of Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, north of Vancouver, the Sea-to-Sky corridor, including Whistler, and the Fraser Valley.

People with heart or lung problems or medical conditions such as diabetes, as well as the elderly and the very young are urged to remain indoors and limit strenuous activity.

Thousands have been forced from their homes or must be ready to go on a moment’s notice as 200 wildfires bur across the province, with the B.C. Wildfire Service confirming 21 new fires were sparked on Sunday, alone.

On Sunday, a 61-year-old logger from Gibson’s B.C., died while helping forestry crews battle a wildfire near Sechelt, north of Vancouver, prompting an investigation by the coroners service and WorkSafeBC.

The B.C. government has taken the unusual step of imposing a provincewide ban on open burning as an unrelenting heat wave that began in early June sends temperatures soaring to record highs.