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High winds expected

Kelowna - Widespread winds of 20 to 50 km/h are anticipated beginning Saturday afternoon

It’s a blistery day for Okanagan neighbourhoods.

A special weather statement was issued by Environment Canada, Saturday for strong winds in Kelowna, Vernon and Pentiction.

The ridge of high pressure that has been dominating the weather over southern BC will give way to a cold front today. Widespread winds of 20 to 50 km/h are expected beginning Saturday afternoon over the central and southern interior, said the statement.

The strong winds will push into the Kootenays by early Sunday morning. Local winds gusts up to 70 km/h are possible through some interior valleys and canyons, according to the statement.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, this forecast weather has to the potential to challenge their efforts to contain the many large wildfires currently burning across southern B.C., and could cause growth on a number of these incidents.

With gusty winds in the weather forecast continuing into Sunday, the wildfire service is encouraging people to remain vigilant and avoid going into the backcountry to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires.

The wind may also cause increased fire activity and smoke visibility in areas near wildfires.

The Kamloops Fire Centre is currently experiencing hot and dry conditions with elevated fire danger ratings. The fire danger rating is “high” to “extreme” throughout the region.

The Kamloops Fire Centre would like to thank the public for its support and understanding throughout this busy and challenging fire season and for continuing to report wildfires and open burning violations to the wildfire reporting hotline at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cellphone.

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