Greater Victoria endures hazy daze

Unwanted guest spurs questions left up in the air

Stinky tourists aren’t unheard of in Victoria but the latest visitor cast a wide hazy net across the lower Island.

“We’ve had forest fire smoke in the air and we suspect, although we need to do lots of analysis, that this came from Siberia and eastern Asia. I think a lot of that has cleared out,” said Steve Sakiyama, air science specialist with the Ministry of Environment.

A combination of smoke, emissions, cool marine air and the extra moisture likely created a more noticeable haze.

“We’re trying to figure out the same questions. These are our best analysis at the moment,” Sakiyama said.

“With these hot conditions, and the winds are fairly light, we don’t have a lot of this air pollution dispersing,” he said.

Marine air moving in adds to the effect. “That’s cool, moist air that tends to hang around the ground so the pollution … it stays around the ground as well.

“There’s more moisture in the air of course, when you have this air from the ocean, and that tends to stick on some of the pollution that’s in the air already – and they grow,” he added.

While Doug Lundquist won’t rule out other sources high in the atmosphere, the Environment Canada meteorologist took a second look at data and found the more recent addition of smoke likely came from the U.S.

“Up until just (Tuesday) or the day before, most of the flow was coming from the south and southeast, so Arizona,” he said. “It looks like it’s coming from south of the border. There may be more than one source of smoke, but I think the thickest came from the south.”

Add to that the homegrown pollution and wildfires across the province and there could be more in the works for the summer.

“(It) can change quite rapidly, especially if wildfires are affecting our atmosphere,” Sakiyama said. “We’re looking at a number of factors. It’s all influenced by meteorology and emissions, some of those emissions may be wildfires which is difficult if not impossible to predict.”

The haze could blow off quickly, or hang about as unwanted guests tend to.

“There’s a lot of factors on how to clear it out. … It depends on the way the wind is blowing,” Lundquist said. “For the next week or two, I think the flow will be more off the open ocean and that’s often a better direction for (Victoria).”

Resources

• Residents with health concerns can visit bcairquality.ca to find Victoria readings updated hourly.

* Follow provincial wildfires at bcwildfire.ca.

Just Posted

VicPd are asking for the public’s help in finding Camper, a lost pit bull who ran away after their owner’s van was reportedly attacked by a man with a hammer on June 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Edmonton man reportedly smashes van’s windows with hammer while woman and her dog inside

VicPD are asking for help to find Camper, the woman’s dog who ran away during the Friday incident

Red arrow shows the existing warehouse that is home to a variety of specialized equipment used by the Capital Region Emergency Services Telecommunications (CREST). The service provider is looking for a new home that will protect the equipment in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster. (Google Maps)
CREST telecoms look to find a post-seismic facility in Greater Victoria

The move will better protect equipment vital to its 50 emergency service clients across the CRD

A temporary urgent and primary care centre will open in Esquimalt this week, offering residents more health care options in their own community. (Black Press Media file)
Esquimalt’s temporary urgent and primary care centre to open Monday

The Esquimalt Health Unit will house the temporary site, permanent location opening in December

(Black Press Media file photo)
FRESH AND LOCAL: Greater Victoria farm markets ready to greet shoppers

A list of markets on the go this spring and summer, right into fall

A client and a staff member embark on an art project at Oak Bay United Church. (Christine van Reewyk/News Staff)
VIDEO: Oak Bay group of adults with developmental disabilities promotes community inclusivity

Victoria Community Connections moved to Oak Bay late last year

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read