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Wildfire smoke

Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of different air pollutants and is an important health concern for our region. As the climate warms, the number, size and duration of wildfires are expected to increase and seriously impact air quality in British Columbia. Wildfire smoke causes episodes of the worst air quality that most people will ever experience in BC. 

How it affects you

Common symptoms from wildfire smoke exposure include:

  • lung irritation

  • eye irritation

  • runny nose

  • sore throat

  • wheezing

  • mild cough

  • and headaches.

When you need to get help

More severe symptoms, needing medical attention, include:

  • shortness of breath

  • severe cough

  • dizziness

  • chest pain

  • or heart palpitations.

People with chronic conditions such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes, as well as pregnant women, infants, and young children are especially sensitive to health effects of wildfire smoke and should take extra care. 

Reducing exposure to wildfire smoke is the best way to protect health. Further information on the health effects of wildfire smoke, how to prepare for the season and the use of portable air cleaners for wildfire smoke can be found at the links below. 

During the summer months both wildfire smoke and heat can be a health concern. Find out more about heat, visit our heat webpage.    

Wildfire smoke resources

Health effects of wildfire smoke
How to prepare for the wildfire smoke season
Portable air cleaners for wildfire smoke
 Residential care facilities and wildfire smoke
 Child care facilities and wildfire smoke
Additional fact sheets from the BCCDC

SOURCE: Wildfire smoke ( )
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