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May long weekend getting smoked out

I’m having trouble writing this column because I can hardly see the computer screen through the smoke.

OK, that may be a slight exaggeration, but not much of one. The smoke we’ve had in Prince George the last few days has prompted health warnings for at-risk people to stay inside if possible, caused postponement of a couple of sports groups because of the health risks for people running around outside, and caused at least one quirk in the local weather.

When I went to bed Monday evening, the forecast low according to Environment Canada was 6C. When I woke up at about 3 a.m. Tuesday to go in and do the morning news and weather, the temperature was 14C.

I have to assume the main reason for the higher low was the smoke holding things in.

I realize that explanation may have been too scientific for some people, but I’m not a meteorologist. I’m not sure sometimes what I am, but I know I’m not a meteorologist.

The one thing we in Prince George have to bear in mind is that other people in B.C. have it a lot worse off. The last time I checked, the entire city of Fort St. John was on evacuation alert because of a forest fire in the immediate vicinity.

Much of Western Canada is experiencing the same smoke we are, some better, some worse. It’s not all, obviously, just from fires ‘next door’. I remember some years ago when we had heavy smoke for a few days even though there were no forest fires of note in the region. It turned out the smoke we were getting was coming from fires in Siberia.

Likewise, the smoke we’re getting is probably not from fires in B.C., but is coming from somewhere else.

And let’s not forget, while some people in B.C. are facing danger from forest fires, many others are still on flood watch as rivers and streams continue to rise, fed by the water pouring out of the mountains as the snowpack melts quite quickly.

So, until the situation is alleviated, stay safe. If you do have respiratory problems, stay inside as much as possible.

And yes, this is the first long weekend of the spring and a lot of people are probably going to be heading out to the cabin to clean up and maybe relax. Just be safe, especially with fire.

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