EAST VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C- Fires burning across British Columbia are sending smoke over Vancouver Island today.

According to Environment Canada, a special air quality statement is in effect today from Duncan to Campbell River, as smoke is drifting into communities up the coast.

“During a wildfire, smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour,” read the advisory.

“Wildfire smoke is a natural part of our environment but it is important to be mindful that exposure to smoke may affect your health. People with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants, children and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure.”

The agency recommends for people to stay inside if they have breathing difficulties, and find an indoor place that is cool and ventilated. Air conditioning and air filters may help.

“If you open the windows you may let in more polluted air,” stated the advisory.

“If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned.”

The agency also asked for people to check local weather forecasts and alerts to know when to take extra care.

IMAGE CAPTION: Stand-up paddleboarders head up the mouth of the Courtenay River while wildfire smoke obscures the coastline behind them on the evening of August 13th, 2018. Photo by James Wood/98.9 The Goat/Vista Radio