There are approximately 300 forest fires burning in the Interior of B.C., and smoke is drifting into the Lower Mainland. (Neil Corbett/The News)

There are approximately 300 forest fires burning in the Interior of B.C., and smoke is drifting into the Lower Mainland. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Interior wildfire smoke causing alarm in Maple Ridge

Smoke bringing fire calls, poor air quality

Smoke smells caused Maple Ridge Fire Rescue to be paged out by alarmed residents on Thursday morning, but responding firefighters found the callers had detected fire smoke drifting into the area from forest fires in the Interior.

“The outflow conditions for the Interior are pushing smoke this way,” said Fire Chief Howard Exner.

He noted the smells are most obvious in eastern regions of Maple Ridge, but he was able to detect smoke in the air at Fire Hall 1, at Dewdney Trunk Road and 227th Street.

He said emergency operators will question callers to try and determine they are calling about a wildfire or Interior smoke.

“It’ll be something we deal with for a few days, until the weather conditions change,” said Exner.

READ ALSO: High temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds cause challenging B.C. fire activity

At the same time, air quality has been dramatically impacted by the smoke coming from wildfires near Hope, Harrison, and from Washington State. An air quality advisory was issued for Metro Vancouver on Thursday afternoon, and the Air Quality Index indicated a high health risk.

Smoke concentrations will vary as wind and temperatures change.

READ ALSO: Here’s how you and your pet can stay safe from the wildfire smoke blanketing B.C.

Health officials say to avoid outdoor activities and strenuous exercise especially those with respiratory issues and chronic health conditions.


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