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Hot, smoky air in the forecast for Okanagan

Special air quality statement issued due to wildfire smoke
Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for the Okanagan due to wildfire smoke. —Carli Berry/Capital News

Wildfire smoke is impacting air quality in the Okanagan.

Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for the valley, with the Air Quality Health Index at just four, the high end of the moderate risk zone for people with heart and lung conditions who are affected by air pollution.

According to the statement, people with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants, children and those sensitive to poor air quality are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure.

They should stay inside if they have breathing difficulties and find a place that is cool and ventilated, says Environment Canada. Air conditioners and air filters may help.

“If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to public place (a library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned,” says the statement.

Environment Canada estimates the air quality in the Okanagan will improve slightly—rising to a three on the index—later today before going back up to a four this evening and tomorrow.

In addition to the smokey air, a heat warning was issued Tuesday morning for the entire Okanagan, with very high temperatures expected over the next three days.

Today, the temperature was expected to peak at 35 C and rising to near 40 C by Thursday. Overnight temperatures are expected to be in the upper teens to 20 C for the next few nights. Cooling is expected to occur slightly by Friday.

The pubic is being reminded to drink plenty of water, stay in a cool place if possible and never leave children or pets in parked vehicles.

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