15 First Nations communities in BC are under evacuation order or alert. This communique includes important information on smoke and air quality, heat warnings and Clean Air Shelters. We urge you to stay up to date with alerts in your area: https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/
Smoke and Air Quality
Smoky skies remain throughout much of the province, air quality is poor in most areas and risk levels are unprecedented in some areas. Several areas have been identified as High Risk.
Current updates and a user-friendly Air Quality Health Index tool can be found below, please visit the index to find updated information about your area: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/bcairquality/readings/aqhi-table.xml
Where air quality is listed as moderate to high risk in your area, follow the recommended precautions, including reduced activity and staying indoors. Each community should have received a call from their Environmental Health Officer about Clean Air Shelters in their community.
- Clean Air Shelters are buildings like community centres, gyms, band offices, etc. that have central heating/AC units that will reduce the amount of particulate matter
- Individual Clean Air Shelters can be set up in homes / small rooms using commercially-available HEPA filters. EHOs can provide additional info on this as needed.
Interior Health and the BC Provincial Health Officer (PHO) are currently recommending that evacuees whose communities are no longer on evacuation order return to their homes. Given the nature of the fires and smoke patterns across the province, smoke conditions at evacuation centres are generally as bad, or worse, than the home communities.
Interior Health and the Provincial Health Officer recommend that if you are at increased risk of health concerns as a result of smoke:
- Have rescue medication on hand at all times and a plan to follow if your rescue medication cannot bring your condition under control.
- Look for indoor environments that might be less smoky, such as shopping malls, community centres and libraries.
- Avoid physical exertion because the amount of smoke you breathe increases as your breathing rate increases.
- Keep hydrated as it helps your body deal with inflammation.
Questions about air quality in communities can be answered by FNHA Environmental Public Health Services. Contact:
- During regular business hours: Casey Neathway at 778-875-3486 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
- After hours: 1-844-666-0711 or email@example.com)
Masking During Wildfire Smoke Events
FNHA has received some inquiries about N95 masks. They are currently not being recommended for general community use and are not being distributed by FNHA. N95 masks require proper fitting to eliminate leaks around the masks, and are not suitable for all individuals (e.g. children and those with facial hair). N95 masks can also create further complications for individuals with pre-existing respiratory problems, putting them at risk.
FNHA has provided more detailed clinical information to health providers in the communities. Additional FAQ’s will be released to provide more information on wildfire smoke and health effects.
Off-road vehicles restricted in backcountry
Effective Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, the operation of any off-road vehicle for recreational purposes on Crown land will be prohibited throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre, Kamloops Fire Centre and Southeast Fire Centre. In addition, all on-highway vehicles must remain on defined road surfaces.
A map of the affected areas is available online at: http://ow.ly/QTm330e9G5n
Anyone found in contravention of this off-road vehicle prohibition may be issued a violation ticket in the amount of $767. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
To report an off-road violation, call the RAPP line at: 1 877 952-7277.
First Nations Health Benefits
Contacts for Refilling Prescriptions; Medical Transportation; Medical Supplies and Equipment (Including Oxygen Tanks) and Eyewear; Dental Items (Dentures): Call 1-800-317-7878.
Stay Up To Date
Our FNHA wildfire information page (http://fnha.ca/wildfires) is the main location for FNHA updates on the wildfire situation, current evacuation zones, road closures, emergency phone lines and other crucial emergency services.