No, you’re not imagining things — the wildfire smoke around Greater Victoria is getting thicker and stronger as the day moves along.
Earlier today, a smoky skies bulletin was posted for Vancouver Island and most of the mainland, with an air quality index of 3 (low risk) for Victoria and Saanich, and 8 (high) for Westshore.
However, since then, heavy smoke has settled in on the southern part of the island, and the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is currently very high (10+) for all of Greater Victoria.
Nanaimo and Parksville also have a 10+ AQHI rating.
What this means
For the general population, a 10+ AQHI rating means that you should “reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors”, particularly if the smoke is causing symptoms like coughing and throat irritation.
People who have breathing or heart problems are asked to cancel all strenuous outdoor activities altogether. Children and the elderly are also asked to avoid outdoor physical exertion.
As of midnight on August 20th, there are 436 wildfires blazing across British Columbia.