Smoke settles in over Sooke as wildfires continue to burn throughout B.C. (@josh.deleenheer/Instagram)

This probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but British Columbia currently has the worst air quality in North America thanks to its hundreds of wildfires.

The assessment comes courtesy of Berkeley Earth, a California-based non-profit established in 2013 that furthers scientific investigations into the nature of climate change.

Berkeley Earth maintains a map that provides near real-time information on particulate matter air pollution less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5).

In typical conditions, PM2.5 is “the most damaging form of air pollution likely to be present,” and can contribute to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, respiratory infections, and other diseases.

Much of the province’s interior is showing unhealthy levels of air pollution, while southern Vancouver Island moderate to unhealthy levels.

(Berkeley Earth)

An air quality advisory was issued for all of Vancouver Island on Monday, and a second was issued on Wednesday afternoon. Environment Canada gave Victoria and Saanich an air quality index of 6 AQI, a “moderate risk,” at time of publication.

The province recently declared a state of emergency due to wildfires, which will remain in effect for two weeks unless conditions improve.

Until that happens, it’s probably best to stay indoors and keep yourself hydrated.

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