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Light blanket of wildfire smoke to reach Island by Tuesday; no major events predicted

Western winds, mountains to likely protect coastal B.C. from wildfire smoke: expert
FireSmoke Canada predicts light smoke throughout eastern and northern Vancouver Island the night of July 6. (FireSmoke Canada)

Light smoke is predicted briefly over Vancouver Island and Greater Victoria throughout the night of July 6, according to data from FireSmoke Canada.

By 8 p.m. on Tuesday, one large funnel of smoke is expected to wrap around the north end of the Island past Brooks Peninsula on the west coast, with another set to cover the eastern shores and the southern Island, including Greater Victoria and the Cowichan Valley.

The predicted smoke will retreat from Greater Victoria by 4 a.m. July 7, withdrawing as far east as Princeton and the Cascade Range by noon. Two hours later and furthest into FireSmoke’s 84-hour forecast, however, the light smog is predicted to extend back to Vancouver.

The fires currently devastating the B.C. Interior will not cause major smoke events like those seen across coastal B.C. in 2020 that resulted in Smokey Sky Alerts, said Chris Rodell, FireSmoke Canada spokesperson and PhD student in Earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences.

READ ALSO: Firebreaks, controlled burns help surround B.C.’s bigger wildfires

Last year, smoke from wildfires in Washington state south of B.C. wafted unobstructed north and west of the coastal mountains, Rodell said.

At the moment, coastal B.C. and Vancouver Island are more protected from smoke caused by the Sparks Lake and Mckay Creek wildfires near Kamloops and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, respectively, by a collaboration of two geographical factors.

Low-pressure winds from the Pacific Ocean regularly hit coastal B.C. from the west, “meaning smoke that is to the east of us is unlikely to come towards our area,” Rodell said. Additionally, seasonally low winds throughout the coast range to the east are also struggling to lift smoke over them, he said.


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