Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for the Elk Valley, warning of reduced air quality as a result of wildfire smoke.
“Widespread wildfire activity across the Southern Interior continues to impact the air quality in localized areas, as smoke can get trapped in valleys when the daytime heating and atmospheric mixing does not allow for the smoke to disperse into the upper atmosphere,” reads a release on August 11.
According to Environment Canada, all of the Elk Valley including Elko, Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford will be impacted over the next one to two days.
“If you or those in your care are exposed to wildfire smoke, consider taking extra precautions to reduce your exposure,” reads the release. “Wildfire smoke is a constantly-changing mixture of particles and gases which includes many chemicals that can harm your health.”
Read more on how to reduce your exposure here.
There are currently two fires of note in the Elk Valley region, with a third burning south of Cranbrook.
The Cummings Creek wildfire 5km west of Sparwood has been burning since August 3 in steep and inoperable terrain. A large team of BC Wildfire Service firefighters have been assessing the danger to the community, and making contingency plans for if it gets closer to built-up areas.
To the south, the Weasel Creek wildfire crossed the border from Montana earlier this month, and continues to burn up the Flathead Valley.
There are area restrictions in place for both fires, but neither currently pose an imminent threat to nearby communities.
Up-to-date information on the fire can be found on the BC Wildfire Service website, here, and on the RDEK website, here. Social media accounts of the responsible agencies are also regularly updated. Residents are also encouraged to sign up for the regional evacuation alert system through the RDEK.
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