It’s another smoky day in the Cariboo that appears to have worsened from Thursday.
Environment Canada stated that a special air quality statement remains in effect for the Cariboo including Quesnel and Williams Lake as wildfire smoke continues to impact the province.
BC Air Quality reported Friday morning a very high air quality health index for Williams Lake, Quesnel, and Prince George.
“We’re expecting a shift from a west wind from those big fires in the Nechako Plateau, south of Uncha and Francois Lake there to shift further south,” explained Environment Canada warning preparedness meteorologist Armel Castellan.
“So as the ridge comes in later Saturday and into Sunday we’re going to see a shift to a more northerly direction.”
Castellan says that that will result in areas to the south including Tweedsmuir and the Chilcotin being more in the direct direction of the smoke.
He says places like Prince George, Quesnel, and Williams Lake might then see an air quality health index improve from very high to high.
Northern Health’s Dr. Andrew Gray says that wearing a surgical mask does not provide the same protection as others because there is no proper filter or tight seal around the nose.
“The aspect of the smoke that does most of the harm or causes most of the symptoms is microscopic particles that are not visible to the naked eye. Those can get into around the sides of a regular dust mask,” he said.
Those who have heart or lung problems should purchase an N-95 mask that is designed to keep out fine particles.
“People who have heart or lung problems and have to go outside and into the smoke, we don’t recommend that but if you have to, those respirators can provide protection in that context.”
“We don’t recommend a mask as your first line of defense.”
(With files from Jeff Slack with MyPrinceGeorgeNow)