Okanagan cities to be stifled with a heavy layer of smoky air

It’s expected to be a really smoky day.

After a brief reprieve, a heavy layer of smoke has returned to the Okanagan and Shuswap.

This morning the Air Quality Health Index Rating issued by the province for most Southern Interior cities and the entirety of the Okanagan was a 7, which is also known as a “high” risk for the elderly and children. By mid-day, it’s expected to rise to the “very high risk” category.

Environment Canada said a rush of fresh Pacific air onto the West Coast has forced smoke which was lying over Lower Mainland communities into the Interior, significicantly reducing air quality.

“Over the Interior where northwesterly winds will prevail, very little improvement if any is expected over the next few days. The latest forecast models are suggesting more conservative rainfall amounts of over the weekend so current wildfires will see little help from the rain. Communities downwind of wildfires will continue to experience high concentrations of fine particulate matter and poor air quality for the foreseeable future,” a special air quality bulletin from Environment Canada.

The high volume of pollution has caused the closure of a number of outdoor events across the region, and has become so thick that there is currently a Drive BC warning related to how it is affecting certain roads.

READ MORE: KELOWNA’S AIR QUALITY TO DETERIORATE AGAIN

The bulletin says air conditions are unpredicable due to the wildfires and can change hour-to-hour. It goes on to reccomend staying inside if you have breathing difficulties. It tells people with breathing difficulties to find an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated.

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

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