People walk along the Okanagan Lake waterfront in a smoky downtown Kelowna on Tuesday, July 27. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)

People walk along the Okanagan Lake waterfront in a smoky downtown Kelowna on Tuesday, July 27. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)

Dense wildfire smoke returns to Okanagan-Shuswap

Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for the region

More days with smoky skies are on the horizon for the Interior.

The last few days, thick smoke from wildfires all over the region has blanketed the Okanagan Valley and the Shuswap, along with some ashfall. Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement as a result of the smoke and as air quality deteriorates in the region.

Currently, in the North and Central Okanagan, air quality is rated 10+, which means there is a very high risk to health, while the South Okanagan is forecasted to sit at six, which means there is a moderate health risk due to air quality.

Environment Canada is encouraging people to be mindful of their health during these times. Those with pre-existing health conditions, respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19, older adults, pregnant women and infants, and children are more likely to experience effects from wildfire smoke exposure.

“If your home is not air-conditioned, be sure the house doesn’t get too warm when doors and windows are closed to keep out smoke. Exposure to too much heat can also result in illness,” Environment Canada said in a statement.

“Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties. Find an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help.”

If you don’t have air-conditioning at home, consider going to a public indoor space like a library or a shopping centre.

More information on air quality ratings throughout the province can be found here.

READ MORE: 50 surgeries cancelled at Kelowna General Hospital as COVID-19 surges


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twila.amato@blackpress.ca

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B.C. Wildfires 2021Environment Canada weatherOkanagan