Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC
Wildfire Smoke and Air Quality

Smoke from wildfire and wildfire cleanup contains chemicals, gases, and fine particles that can harm human health. These hazards can continue even after fires are under control. Fine particles in the air can reduce lung function and cause coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Most symptoms are short-lived in otherwise healthy people but can be a significant problem for people with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, COPD, and heart conditions.

Symptoms of smoke exposure include:

  • Irritation to eyes, nose, and throat
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Trouble breathing as normal
  • Running nose
  • Asthma attacks

**Please note that this safety topic relates to environmental air quality only, if you are looking for resources related to determining day-to-day air quality for your facility, please visit Respiratory Protection and connect with one of our Industrial Hygienists for more support.

Basic Training
Available by e-Learning
This online course explores response to emergency situations that can be encountered in manufacturing. The goal of the course is to provide a basic understanding of what to anticipate and expect when responding to an emergency.
Available Virtually by Video ConferenceInstructor-Led Classroom Training
Emergency response planning is one of the key elements to include in your occupational health and safety program. This program allows you to plan out how you would respond to an emergency in the event of, which can result in saving lives, property, revenue, etc. 
Wildfire Smoke and Air Quality Resources and Tools
Air Quality Assessment Indoor air quality has become an important health and safety concern. Depending on the materials used or handled, the heating or ventilation systems or the work processes within your facility, your workers may be exposed to contaminants in the air that can put their health at risk. WorkSafeBC has established occupational exposure […]
Planning and preparing for emergencies and natural disasters can be hard. A support network lets two or more people help each other in an emergency.
This study provides a review of academic and technical literature about the effectiveness of do-it-yourself (DIY) air purifiers. Results from these sources indicate that DIY air cleaners/purifiers performed similarly to commercial portable air cleaners in terms of clean air delivery rate (CADR) and energy efficiency under controlled conditions. However, DIY devices were much more cost […]
Do you have an emergency response plan to evacuate due to the risk of a wildfire or flood? Use this checklist to build your plan.
EmergencyInfoBC is active during partial and full-scale provincial emergencies. They share official response and recovery sources, as well as verified event information from trusted partners.
The BC FireSmart Committee is a group comprised of various agencies working together collaboratively to maintain and improve the delivery of the FireSmart BC program to better support wildfire preparedness, prevention and mitigation in BC. The FireSmart program is backed by a vast amount of field, laboratory and wildfire modelling research. Its methods help reduce […]
Learn about B.C. wildfires, preparing for an emergency, air quality, food and water safety, evacuation information, and more.
This resource provides a daily update on the Air Quality Health Index for locations across B.C.
A map to identify the status of the various wildfires currently in B.C.
BC Wildfire Service provides an up-to-date information on the current wildfire situation in B.C.—including evacuation orders and alerts and road closures. It also offers resources to help prevent, prepare, respond, and recover from a wildfire.
It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during and after a disaster.
Quick Reference Card
Wildfire smoke contains pollutants including fine particulates (PM), carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds that travel deep into your lungs when you inhale. These particles can cause adverse health effects until the air quality improves. Symptoms​ Most symptoms from smoke exposure can be managed without medical attention including: Sore throat Eye irritation Runny […]
A Q&A with the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development Fair, Safe and Healthy Workplaces Division Outdoor Air Quality Concerns
This resource from WorkSafeBC lists items that employers who operate in remote locations should consider as part of an Emergency Evacuation Plan.
This WorkSafeBC publication outlines responses to frequently asked questions from employers during the wildfire season. This information is provided to help you understand the hazards associated with exposure to smoke, and to outline some measures you can implement to minimize worker exposures.
This WorkSafeBC document on wildfires provides an overview of employer obligations related to emergency response planning, as well as ways to reduce exposure to wildfire smoke for indoor and outdoor workers. The document also contains links to several key WorkSafeBC resources related to wildfires.