Smoke billowing from one of the wildfires in the Okanagan Valley.                                Photo courtesy of candicetdias/Instagram

Smoke billowing from one of the wildfires in the Okanagan Valley. Photo courtesy of candicetdias/Instagram

Smoky skies bulletin remains for Okanagan Valley

Still, a smoky skies bulletin was issued for the Okanagan

Despite three wildfires of note continuing to burn in the Okanagan, air quality has improved from the previous day.

Still, a smoky skies bulletin is still in place for the central, south and north Okanagan on Friday morning by Environment Canada.

The entire valley is sitting at a low health risk on the B.C. air quality index. A marked difference from yesterday when the central Okanagan peaked at 10 (high health risk) on the index. However, the forecast for later today is a moderate (six) health risk for the central and south Okanagan. The north Okanagan will also move to moderate (four) later today.

Related: Skeleton crew to watch 1,000 hectare wildfire near Peachland

The at-risk population is advised to consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you are experience symptoms. The general population does not need to modify activities unless they are experiencing symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.

Related: Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire burns at 400 hectares

Interior Health is reminding residents living in close vicinity to a fire to take precautions to protect their lung health. Smoke exposure can be concerning for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and lung (asthma/COPD) or heart disease, as well as pregnant women.

A smoky skies bulletin was issued this morning for the central, south and north Okanagan

To reduce health risks associated with wildfire smoke, Interior Health recommends:

— Reduce outdoor activity on smoky days

— Find a clean air shelter such as large public buildings like libraries, community centres and shopping malls as they often have cleaner, cooler air than smaller buildings or the outdoors.

— Consider purchasing a commercially available HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter and creating a filtered air room in your house.

— Travel to areas with better air quality – conditions can greatly vary across geographic areas and elevations.

— People with asthma or other chronic illness should activate their asthma or personal care plan.

— Pay attention to local air quality reports and the conditions around you as smoke concentrations may vary and change over short periods and over small distances. A heavy bluish-white haze, possibly accompanied by the smell of smoke, is an indication smoke concentrations are higher than usual.

Check the Air Quality Health Index in your area.


Kristi Patton | Editor

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