Smoke hangs over the air in Creston. The West Kootenay was ranked as having Canada’s worst air quality on Monday. Photo: Kelsey Yates

Smoke hangs over the air in Creston. The West Kootenay was ranked as having Canada’s worst air quality on Monday. Photo: Kelsey Yates

West Kootenay has Canada’s worst air quality

Trail, Nelson and Castlegar’s air is clogged by wildfire smoke

The West Kootenay has the worst air quality in Canada due to wildfire smoke suffocating the region.

IQAir, which measures air quality throughout the world, rated Trail on Monday at the bottom of Canadian communities with a 288 air quality index score, followed by Nelson in second, then Castlegar at third and Rossland in fourth.

Trail, Nelson and Castlegar’s air is described as very unhealthy by IQAir, which is the second-worst category ranked by the site.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay meanwhile was 10th worst out of 288 Canadian communities. The only city outside B.C. in the top-10 was Sherbrooke, Que., at No. 9.

IQAir rates clean air as a score of zero, with the higher scores corresponding with worsening pollution. Regina, Brooks, Alta., and Chetwynd, B.C., were among the communities Monday with scores of zero.

Several fires in the West Kootenay are contributing to the poor air, with Environment Canada warning Monday that temperatures are forecasted to only get hotter over the next week.

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@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

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air qualitywildfire smoke