Kootenay Lake seen from the Nelson bridge on Sept. 3. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Kootenay Lake seen from the Nelson bridge on Sept. 3. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson has third worst air quality in Canada

Eight out of the top ten most air-polluted cities in Canada on Sept. 3 are in the Kootenays

The Kootenays have the worst air quality in the country this weekend.

IQAir, which measures air quality throughout the world, rated Creston on Sept. 3 as the most polluted of Canadian communities with a 198 air quality index score, followed by Kimberley at 197 and Nelson at 170.

Eight out of the top ten most air-polluted cities in Canada on Sept. 3 were in the Kootenays.

The site categorizes Nelson air as “unhealthy” and states that the particulate matter concentration is 18.5 times the World Health Organization annual air quality guideline value.

Wearing a mask outdoors, closing windows, running an air purifier, and avoiding outdoor exercise are recommended.

Environment Canada’s weather station in Castlegar rates the air as “moderate risk” and recommends that people at risk should “consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you are experiencing symptoms.”

The federal environment ministry says most of the smoke is from “long-range transport from fires in Washington and Oregon as well as smoke from local fires.”

There has been no significant increase in wildfire activity in southeastern B.C. over the past three days, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service.