At least 184 wildfires are burning across British Columbia at the moment, resulting in stretched resources and deteriorating air quality throughout the region. Smoke from two wildfires near Whistler has made it almost impossible to be outside, and locals and tourists alike are wearing masks and handkerchiefs. According to Environment Canada's air quality health index, the risk for Whistler on Tuesday was a 10 (out of 10), and as of Wednesday morning, remained a "high risk" at 7.
Public officials are warning people to stay indoors whenever possible, something that's frustratingly difficult in a ski town like Whistler. Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden told the Vancouver Sun that "People are modifying their activities" and since she's lived in Whistler since 1973, she's "never seen smoke in the valley like this before."
And while the smoke in Whistler is hazardous and unfortunate for travelers, the magnitude of the fires across British Columbia is hard to grasp. More than 1,000 people are fighting the fires, and the BC Wildlife Service predicts that 30 new wildfires will start every day as dry conditions grow more acute. The government has already spent more than $90 million this season fighting the fires, surpassing the original $63 million budget.
Here's a map of all the fires currently burning, courtesy of the BC Wildfire Service: