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PODCAST: The far-reaching health consequences of B.C.’s wildfires

TODAY IN B.C.: UBCM session offers insights into the challenges posed

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On this Edition of Today in BC, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities explores the pressing issue of wildfires in British Columbia and their profound health impacts.

Three speakers delve into the physical and mental health consequences of wildfires, emphasizing the challenges faced by communities, healthcare workers and vulnerable populations.

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, sheds light on the complexities of evacuating vulnerable individuals from long-term care facilities amidst the crisis. He emphasizes the significant strain placed on the healthcare system and healthcare workers.

“Can you imagine continuing to work and caring for people away from your home, travelling with them while your own home is in jeopardy?” said Dix. “It is an extraordinary thing for our healthcare community to have done that and achieve that, I think, requires from me and from everyone in the province, gratitude and appreciation.”

Armel Castellan, a warning preparedness meteorologist, provides a perspective on the unprecedented heatwaves and droughts that exacerbated the wildfire situation. He highlights the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events due to climate change, which contribute to prolonged wildfire seasons and hazardous smoke conditions.

Dr. Angela Yao, a senior scientist in environmental health services, discusses the long-term health impacts of wildfire smoke exposure. She presents research findings linking smoke exposure to respiratory issues, cardiovascular problems and even cognitive function. Yao emphasizes the need for proactive measures, such as improving indoor air quality and creating personal action plans to mitigate the health risks associated with wildfires.

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Peter McCully

About the Author: Peter McCully

Peter has been a broadcaster and publisher on both of Canada’s coasts and has owned a small newspaper and run an advertising agency along the way.
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