With accommodations reaching capacity in communities hosting wildfire evacuees, Emergency Management BC (EMBC) is asking those not at risk to think about heading home.
Officials say Emergency Social Services are intended for those on evacuation order. While there were some exceptions made during the current wildfire season, space is now needed for those on evacuation order.
EMBC is asking those who have self-evacuated to larger communities due to smoke to consider returning home.
The organization says leaving a smoky region for another community doesn’t guarantee a reduced exposure to smoke and can add stress and anxiety.
EMBC says wind and weather patterns can mean smoke concentrations are actually higher in urban centres, making it worse than the places people have left.
At last count, the City of Prince George was temporary home to nearly 3000 wildfire evacuees.
Officials say returning home will help host-community Emergency Social Services create the capacity for people who have been evacuated from their homes due to a direct wildfire threat.
Emergency Management BC has a number of tips for those not on evacuation order, but worried about smoke issues at home:
Stay indoors and keep the air clean (windows/doors closed, no smoking, no burning fireplaces/candles/incense, no vacuuming).
Reduce the amount of time spent outdoors. Avoid vigorous outdoor activities.
When in a vehicle, keep windows closed with air conditioning set to recirculate.
Visit places with controlled air supply, such as shopping malls, swimming pools, public libraries, etc.
People with asthma, or other chronic illnesses, should ensure they have an adequate supply of inhalers/medication, and should activate their asthma or personal protection plans.
Visit HealthLinkBC: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/
Call 811 (non-emergency) or visit your health practitioner for non-emergency medical assistance.
Call 911 only during an emergency, e.g., if someone is having difficulty breathing, or is in cardiovascular distress.