Williams Lake woke up to smoky skies Wednesday morning. Angie Mindus photo

Smoke from as far away as Siberia affecting B.C. skies

South Thompson, Central and South Okanagan, East Columbia and all of the north included in smoky skies bulletin

An air quality advisory has been issued for all of northern B.C. and several pockets of the south due to wildfire smoke.

Regions listed in the Smoky Skies Bulletin issued Tuesday, July 24 include the South Thompson, Central Okanagan, South Okanagan, East Columbia, and all parts of province north of Quesnel.

The Cariboo Fire Centre released a statement saying smoke in the northern half of the province can be attributed to an upper low that has pulled smoke into B.C. from the fires currently burning in Manitoba and Ontario.

According to Jessica Mack, the fire information officer for the Cariboo Fire Centre, some of the smoke may also be from fires in areas as far away as Siberia and Eurasia.

“Because of changing wind directions and the number of fires, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly where this smoke is coming from. However, a phenomenon known as long range transport can carry smoke hundreds and even thousands of kilometres away from a fire,” says Mack.

Currently there are no significant wildfires in the north and central Interior; however, there are seven wildfires of note in the Kamloops Fire Centre and one in the Southeast Fire Centre.

Smoke in the southern part of the province has been attributed to local fires in the area.

Those areas under the advisory are expected to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24 to 48 hours. People with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants, children and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure and the government advises residents to use common sense to limit exposure to wildfire smoke.

For more information on symptoms and tips on how to reduce exposure, see the Smoky Skies Bulletin.

Residents in Williams Lake also woke up to thick smoke in the region Wednesday morning, reminiscent of last year’s wildfires leaving many feeling unsettled and looking for answers to where exactly the smoke was coming from.

Related: Vehicles and outbuildings burned in Okanagan wildfire

As the wildfire season ramps up, so is the hot weather, with daytime temperatures expected to reach the upper 30Cs for the Okanagan and Kootenays this week.

The drying conditions have prompted the BC Wildfire Service to issue campfire bans starting Thursday for the Kamloops Fire Centre and Southeast Fire Centre.

Related: Campfire bans issued around B.C.

FireWork, Canada’s Wildfire Smoke Prediction System, is an air quality prediction system that indicates how smoke from wildfires is expected to move across North America over the next 48 hours. See the map here: https://weather.gc.ca/firework/firework_anim_e.html?type=em&utc=12


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