Smoke in the skies over the Cowichan Valley is being caused by wildfires in the U.S. and B.C. (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen file)

UPDATED: Smoky skies bulletin extended for Cowichan Valley, Greater Victoria, as air quality rated poor

Smoke caused by wildfires in B.C. and U.S.

It will come as no surprise to those in the Cowichan Valley that provincial officials, who issued a smoky skied bulletin for the Cowichan Valley and Greater Victoria on Saturday, Sept. 10, as the sun turned an orange-pink about halfway throught the day, has extended that bulletin through Sunday, Sept. 11.

The smoke is coming from wildfires in both British Columbia and Washington State.

The bulletin advises that conditions can change quickly, and can affect your health, while the Air Quality Health Index shows Duncan’s air quality at a 10 out of 10, or high risk.

“People with pre-existing health conditions, respiratory infections such as COVID-19, older adults, pregnant women and infants, children, and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure,” the bulletin said.

Anyone within those high risk populations should reduce or reschedule strenuous activity. Those in the general population should also consider doing the same.

Some advice offered to help deal with the smoke is to reduce your activity level if breathing becomes uncomfortable or you feel ill and to stay cool and drink plenty of fluids. Those with asthma or chronic illness should carry any rescue medications with them at all times.

Mild irritation and discomfort from the smoke are common and will disappear quickly when the smoke does, the bulletin states, but people should monitor their symptoms — even indoors where smoke levels can be lower — and if they are unsure whether they need medical care should contact HealthLink BC at 811.

To read the bulletin and health advice in full see click here.

air quality