Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

A wildfire burns along the mountain side in Oliver, B.C., Saturday, August, 15, 2015.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

Smoke from wildfires burning in Washington State has caused visibility and air quality problems in British Columbia, but it's also helping to keep the province's own fires in check.

A thick haze blanketing many communities in southern B.C. is acting like cloud cover and calming fires, said fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek.

"It is actually absorbing some of the heat that would be reaching the ground, and it's keeping some of that humidity trapped," he said Monday.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Skrepnek said 10 new fires were discovered on the weekend, a marked decrease from some days in July and early August when dozens were found in a single day.

While the number of new fires may be going down, but Mr. Skrepnek said it's too early to say it's the end of fire season.

The province has spent $233-million fighting 1,753 fires so far this year.

Currently, there are about 180 fires burning across the province, including a 45-square-kilometre blaze west of Rock Creek that claimed 30 homes earlier this month. The fire is now about 75 per cent contained.

The Stickpin fire also continues to rage in Washington State, about 4.5 kilometres south of the border.

British Columbia crews are helping their American counterparts fight the 192-square-kilometre blaze Sunday.

Thirty three fire personnel, three officers and two pieces of heavy machinery are now responsible for the northern side of the fire bordering Canada.

Story continues below advertisement

Firefighting aircraft could also be sent south as well, Mr. Skrepnek said.

Smoke from several Washington fires has limited visibility and prompted air quality warnings across southern B.C.

Environment Canada issued air quality alerts for parts of the region Sunday because of the high levels of fine particulate matter in the air and cautioned people to avoid strenuous activity outdoors.

Metro Vancouver also issued an air-quality advisory for central and eastern Fraser Valley.

Kamran Golmohammadi, medical health officer for Interior Health, said tiny particles can lodge deep in people's lungs, causing respiratory problems.

Young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with pre-existing heart and lung conditions are at highest risk, he said, adding symptoms include eye irritation, chest tightness and runny noses.

Story continues below advertisement

Smoke is expected to lift over many regions Tuesday, though it is expected to stick around the Kootenays for a few more days.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies