Smoke weighs heavy on Okanagan valley

Heavy smoke from fires across the border and in B. C. has settled in the Okanagan

Breathing may not come easy today.

Smoke from fires across B.C. and in the Pacific Northwest has seeped into the valley and it isn’t expected to move on until a cold front stirs things up later this week.

Many residents in the Central and South Okanagan, reported waking up to campfire-like air and they were right. The Air Quality Health Index from Osoyoos to Lake Country was rated at a 7, which means its a high risk to the health of babies, the elderly and those who have health complications.

Currently the Air Quality Health Index ratings from Lumby to Vernon and through to Kamloops, were slightly better at sun rise.

Those regions are sitting at a three to four Air Quality Health Index Rating, which means there is a moderate risk.

Weather forecasts suggest a cold front will move in Thursday, with a small amount of rain expected in the southern Interior on Friday.

Whether it will have any affect on fires remains to be seen.

Until then, back country areas remained off-limits to the public and off-roading bans also remain in effect.

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 open the windows you may let in more polluted air. If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned.

For more information on current air quality, see: www.bcairquality.ca.