Wildfire smoke from the United States will again affect Nanaimo and areas on central Vancouver Island on Saturday, Sept. 12. (Karl Yu/Nanaimo News Bulletin)

Wildfire smoke from the United States will again affect Nanaimo and areas on central Vancouver Island on Saturday, Sept. 12. (Karl Yu/Nanaimo News Bulletin)

Smoky skies expected to continue throughout Monday

Some rain in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow

Wildfire smoke that plagued the skies over Vancouver Island and beyond this weekend is expected to continue today.

The smoky skies warning issued by Environment Canada early Friday afternoon was renewed at 4:30 a.m. this morning and the forecast for Victoria to Campbell River calls for more widespread smoke throughout the day and at least into tomorrow, but also rain.

The B.C. Air Quality Index map continues to show Victoria, Duncan and Nanaimo in the 10+ (very high) range, with the lone exception being the Comox Valley at 9 (high) As of 6 a.m., Island substations are measuring fine particulate matter ranging from 90 in the Comox Valley to 129 in Victoria, down somewhat from 24-hour averages from over the weekend.

Environment Canada continues to advise people with underlying medical conditions or serious infections such as COVID-19 to postpone or reduce activities outside.

The Nanaimo School District issued an email update to parents about the situation Sunday evening.

Superintendent Scott Saywell said the district has been consulting with public health officials about policies such as keeping exterior windows and doors closed, allowing students who are sensitive to the smoke remain indoors during lunch/breaks, and reducing strenuous activities outdoors.

“While staying indoors may run counter to the recommendations for COVID-19, other COVID-19 health and safety control measures in place in schools will continue to provide protection for staff and students,” Saywell said. “Also, our HVAC systems have filtration that allows us to maintain fresh air while also removing particulates.

RELATED: Smoke from distant fires in U.S. pose ‘very high risk’ for air quality in B.C.

Rain is expected to come into the area this afternoon to offer some relief from the smoke, especially tonight and into Tuesday morning.

The smoke initially was blown offshore last week by easterly winds, creating a huge plume over the Pacific Ocean created by the smoke from 4.5 million acres burning in California, Oregon and Washington. Now the smoke is blowing inland, carried by westerly winds.

“The good news is the amount of smoke [offshore] is thinning out,” said U.S. National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Michalski told the Port Angeles-based Peninsula Daily News. “The bad news is, there’s still smoke traps near the surface.”

He warned that people may not see the smoke leave immediately after the rain system arrives.

“The rain should help,” Michalski said. “I wouldn’t expect it to be instantaneous.”

He added that continued winds blowing north could continue to bring smoke into the area, depending on how out of control the fires remain.

But he was optimistic air quality will improve during the week.

“We’re getting a pretty good mixing,” he said. “We’re expecting things to improve.”

with a file from Pierre LaBossiere, Peninsula Daily News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley writer Jennifer Manuel will headlining YakFest on March 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Cowichan Valley writer to headline next YakFest on March 1

YakFest is a B.C.-based monthly women’s event held online via Zoom

The North Island College campus in Port Alberni is located on Roger Street. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College plans tourism networking event

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on Vancouver Island’s tourism industry

Members of Alberni Valley Rescue Squad were at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020 to practice helicopter hover exit training with Ascent Helicopters out of Parksville. When executing a search in difficult terrain, it isn’t always possible to land a helicopter, so volunteer searchers must be certified in hover exits. (BILL MCLEOD/ Special to the AV News)
Alberni Valley Rescue Society receives much-needed $40K gaming grant

Bamfield volunteer fire department also funded

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

The current exhibit at the Rollin Art Centre features paintings from the Community Arts Council’s permanent collection. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
ARTS AROUND: Last chance to join Alberni Valley artist guide

The guide will include local artists and a map

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

Most Read