Ash, smoke blanket BC as government matches Red Cross donations

Shovel Lake fire seen from south of Burns Lake
Fire seen from Francois Lake south of Burns Lake. Photo by Dylan Thom.

Vancouver, BC – Ash and smoke turned daytime skies dark in several northern British Columbia communities on Friday as 600 fires continued to burn across the province.

Premier John Horgan announced the government would match dollar for dollar all donations made to the Canadian Red Cross to help people affected by the fires.

“People in BC and across Canada are concerned about the BC wildfire situation in our province. Giving a donation to the Red Cross is a good way to help those who have been affected, and now we’re matching contributions so your donation will go even further,” said Horgan.

Until October 12, the BC government will match all donations made the Red Cross in Canada to the tune of $20 million, the BC government said.

To help out with the BC fires, go here: https://donate.redcross.ca/page/28955/donate/1?locale=en-CA

The Shovel Lake blaze burning over 79,000 hectares is the largest of 600 wildfires across B.C.

The Shovel Lake fire is blanketing areas of Endako, Burns Lake, Fort St. James and Prince George with ash and smoke. Street lights in Prince George were on for several hours after sunrise on  Friday morning.

113 firefighters, 8 helicopters and 52 pieces of heavy equipment are being used in the Shovel Lake fire near Endako, 30 kilometres north-east of Burns Lake and 54 kilometres south-west of Fort St. James.

Air Quality Warnings

There are continuing air quality warnings in many parts of the province. The latest was issued Friday evening.

“Smoky skies will continue across most of the province for the next few days. Local smoke levels may vary based on wind direction and fire characteristics but, until a significant change in the provincial weather pattern occurs, widespread air quality improvements are not expected.” environment Canada said.

“During a wildfire, smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour.

“Wildfire smoke is a natural part of our environment but it is important to be mindful that exposure to smoke may affect your health.”

People with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants, children and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure.

“Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties. Find an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. If you open the windows you may let in more polluted air. If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned.”

Ash and smoke caused by BC wildfires near Fort St. James
Half day half night – ash and smoke near Prince George and Fort St. James. – BC Wildfire photo
Shovel Lake fire is 79,000 hectares
Shovel Lake fire is largest of some 600 burning across BC. Near Endako, approx 30 km NE of Burns Lake and approx 54 km SW of Ft. St. James

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