Smoky skies greeted residents across Greater Victoria Tuesday morning. The haze even obscured mountain views from Sidney. (Wolfgang Depner/News Staff)

Washington wildfires likely cause for Greater Victoria’s smoke-filled skies

Region wakes up to strong smell of smoke, haze

Greater Victoria residents get an extra dose of ‘campfire’ after the Labour Day long weekend, likely thanks to wildfires south of the border.

The region woke up Tuesday morning to hazy skies and a strong smell of smoke. Residents from Victoria to the Saanich Peninsula took to social media to note the sudden shift in air quality, which is categorized in the highest health risk bracket by BC Air Quality.

It’s recommended the public avoid strenuous activities outdoors and that children and elderly people avoid outdoor physical exertion.

A map published by the Northwest Interagency Coordination Centre (NWCC) reveals a 67,000-acre – roughly 27,000 hectare – wildfire burning in Cold Springs, north of the Columbia River. Just below the river, the wildfire continues into Pearl Hill – a wildfire with a 70,647-hectare perimeter.

Close by, a smaller, 7279-hectare wildfire is burning north of Cold Springs in Palmer.

READ ALSO: Smoke wafting from Washington wildfires potential cause of Victoria haze

Two smaller fires are also burning south of Victoria, including a 238-hectare wildfire in Jungle Creek and a 30,682-hectare fire in Evans Canyon.

The U.S. National Weather Service issued a high wind warning on Monday for eastern Washington cities, noting east winds with gusts 55 to 60 miles per hour, or roughly 89 to 97 kilometres per hour.

Carol Connolly, NWCC public information officer, said a big wind event over the last 24 hours caused eight new large fires in the state and the gusty wind, which continues to blow from the east and over the Cascade Mountains, is likely pushing that smoke into southern Vancouver Island.

On Tuesday morning Environment Canada also reported that an upper ridge of pressure is drawing warm air northward from the U.S. this week.


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