Wildfires are predicted to become more frequent and severe as the global climate changes.
During wildfires, public health practitioners and emergency managers are faced with the daunting task of protecting the public from the threat of smoke- and fire-related illness.
In order to assist public health decision makers in BC, BCCDC struck an international working group to develop consensus guidelines for use during wildfire smoke events.
This guidance describes the wildfire smoke hazard, identifies the health effects that are associated with wildfire smoke exposure and the populations that are susceptible; provides BC-specific guidance about tools for situational awareness (smoke and health surveillance); summarizes the evidence for effectiveness of intervention measures to protect public health.
This purpose of this Guideline is to describe how the Health Wildfire Smoke Response Coordination Group will support regional response to a wildfire smoke event that may impact the health of a population in BC.
The international working group brought together experts tasked with assessing the evidence related to wildfire smoke and public health. The group originally identified nine key topic areas to be addressed by evidence reviews:
On June 1, 2021, Dr. Sarah Henderson presented on BCCDC Grand Rounds key information needed by individuals and public health practitioners to prepare for smoke before it arrives. There have been catastrophic wildfires in western North America during the summer of 2016 through 2020, with no reason to expect any different in 2021.