Residents of north-central B.C. were advised to stay indoors for weeks at a time in 2018 as the air quality health index continuously hit 10+, or “very hazardous” levels.
The smoke was so bad that both Prince George and neighbouring Quesnel were among the 10 most polluted cities in the world in August 2018, according to a global survey conducted by Greenpeace, using data from IQAir.
Smoke also drifted into major centres like Edmonton and Vancouver, where retailers say they’ve seen a corresponding sales bump in air purification supplies. Best Buy Canada said while sales of air purifiers have increased nationwide, B.C. and Alberta sales were up by more than 50 per cent in 2018, with similar trends expected to continue into 2019.
A spokesperson for Home Hardware said sales have “significantly increased due to the many forest fires in the west,” and Canadian Tire said they’ve seen “substantial growth,” with B.C. accounting for the highest jump. Statistics Canada does not track sales of purifiers directly, but said the category containing them increased in 2018.