3 B.C. towns had some of the worst air quality in the world during last year's wildfires: report

WATCH ABOVE: A new report from Greenpeace says last summer's forest fires made Prince George among the ten worst cities in the world for air quality. Aaron McArthur has more.

Three B.C. towns had some of the worst air quality in the world during part of last summer, according to new report from Greenpeace.

Amid a historic wildfire season, Quesnel and Prince George ranked in the top 10 list of the world’s most polluted cities in August 2018:

  • Padre las Casas, Chile – 93.0
  • Hotan, China – 91.9
  • Bhiwadi, India – 83.6
  • Anderson, California, USA – 78.0
  • Chelan, Washington, USA – 76.2
  • Fairdabad, India – 74.5
  • Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada – 74.2
  • Coyhaique, Chile – 73.2
  • Prince George, British Columbia, Canada – 72.2
  • Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA – 70.3

Williams Lake ranked 13th.

During a stretch last summer, smoke was so thick in Prince George that skies were darkened in the middle of the day.

‘We’re in serious trouble’: concern growing over massive wildfires burning near Burns Lake (August 2018)

WATCH BELOW: Wildfire smoke darkens Prince George sky

According to the report, air quality readings in the three cities last August were well into the “unhealthy” range, roughly five times worse than average.

The report also warns that air pollution has become the world’s fourth leading cause of early deaths.

Eduardo Sousa, senior forester campaigner with Greenpeace Canada, said last summer’s wildfires were “climate-change driven.”

More money in B.C. budget for wildfire response as natural disaster costs soar

“It’s literally a red flag going up,” he said.

“We’re breathing this in for a month, day in and day out and when you reach those levels… we are at risk for aggravated heart problems and certainly lung problems as well, and that’s just by breathing.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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