CASTLEGAR (NEWS 1130) — “It’s like sitting beside a campfire with a smoke blowing in your face. Except there’s nowhere to move your chair to get out of it.” That’s how the Mayor of Castlegar describes the wildfire smoke which has been pervading his community at dangerously high levels since last week.
The latest air quality analysis from the province shows the small city in the Kootenays is seeing AQI levels at 10-plus, which are the highest levels measured by the province for poor air quality.
Mayor Kirk Duff says the community is trying to cope with the wildfire smoke as best it can.
“We’re getting kind of tired of it, as anyone would. This is the first year that we’ve had fires actually this close, because there’s a lot of ash that’s dropping at the same time,” he says.
“Usually, we end up getting smoke in here … these fires that we’re getting I think are right close to us … it’s a bit of a new experience, for how close it is.”
While wildfires aren’t directly threatening Castlegar, AQI are levels considered dangerous for children, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.
“Heed the advice from Interior Health, about exposure to the smoke, and the kind of things that it carries. And wherever possible, stay in your house, or wear a mask to protect yourself if you have to go out. But especially for seniors or anyone with any lung conditions or heart conditions, to think about what you need to do and protect yourself as best you can,” Duff recommends.