Squamish filled with smoke due to forest fire

Blaze outside of Pemberton impacts district

Squamish was filled with smoke Monday due to a forest fire burning 67 kilometres west of Pemberton.

Due to the smoke, the air quality in Squamish was up to a 6 by 10:30 a.m. and an 8 by noon and a 9 by the end of the lunch hour.

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A 9 means people should consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors, especially if there are symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation, according to BC Air Quality. Children and the elderly should avoid strenuous activities outdoors.

The smoke had started to dissipate later in the day and was at a 4 by late afternoon, meaning there was no need for the average person to modify outdoor activities.

The Elaho forest fire started Sunday morning and according to Marg Drysdale of the Coastal Fire Centre it was human caused, not industrial. The exact cause of the fire is under investigation, she said.

The smoke throughout Squamish was funnelled down the Elaho and Squamish valleys due to inversion, Drysdale said.

The fire had spread to an estimated 100 hectares at dinnertime Monday, up from 80 hectares at noon and 15 hectares at 9 a.m.

There is no risk to the District of Squamish from the blaze, according to the Fire Centre.

On Monday, twenty-two firefighters were attacking the fire with the help of two helicopters and two fallers on the ground. Sunday afternoon there were two air tankers tackling the blaze, Drysdale added.

To check air quality go to www.bcairquality.ca/readings. The Squamish Chief will continue to update this story.

This story has been updated since its first posting to reflect new information.

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