A plane flies over smoke billowing from the Mount Eneas fire. Photo courtesy of Meghann Fletcher

A plane flies over smoke billowing from the Mount Eneas fire. Photo courtesy of Meghann Fletcher

Smoky skies cause Okanagan-wide air quality issues

Central Okanagan pushed to high risk

Wildfires started by lightning strikes across the Okanagan has caused smoky skies throughout the valley, pushing air quality in the Central Okanagan to a high risk this morning

The Central Okanagan currently sits at a high risk, 10, which is the highest on the air quality health index. The index indicates that it will move to a low risk (three) later today.

Related: Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

The at-risk population, including children, are advised to reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoor. As well, the general population should also consider that advice — especially if you are experiencing symptoms such as coughing and throat irritations.

As of this morning, the South Okanagan is ranked a five (moderate) on the index. This means the at-risk population should consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you are experiencing symptoms. For the general population, there is no need to modify your usual outdoor activities unless you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation. According to B.C. Air Quality, the South Okanagan will move into a low risk later today.

Related: More evacuation orders for Mount Eneas wildfire, south of Peachland

The North Okanagan sits at a three (low risk) on the air quality health index.

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.

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

KristiPatton

Send Kristi Patton an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

One in seven Canadians deal with food insecurity due to the pandemic. See story on page 10. (Phil McLachlan - West K News)
Kelowna’s first community fridge needs a home

People who need food right away will be able to access the community fridge

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

UBCO students are among the most food insecure in Canada, according to a new study by UBC Okanagan. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News/FILE)
UBCO students among most food insecure in Canada

42.3 per cent either can’t properly feed themselves, or are worried they will soon run out of money

(Jen Zielinski - Black Press Media)
Vehicle incident on Enterprise Way causes traffic delays in Kelowna

Traffic is slow in all directions surrounding the intersection of Enterprise and Dilworth Drive

Interior Health reported 43 new COVID-19 cases in the region Feb. 23, 2021 and no additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
43 new cases of COVID reported in Interior Health

No new deaths, Williams Lake outbreak over

This year’s Pink Shirt Day event will be held virtually with the Breakfast in a Box. (Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs photo)
Pink Shirt Day 2021 kicks off with virtual event

“When you’re functioning from a place of kindness, there’s no way that bullying can exist.”

COVID-19 testing at the Vernon Health Services Unit. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)
Two Vernon high schools exposed to COVID-19

Vernon Secondary and Seaton were sent home notices yesterday of exposure event

Vancouver Canucks left wing Antoine Roussel (26) tries to get a shot past Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks cough up 3-0 lead, fall 4-3 to visiting Edmonton Oilers

Vancouver falls to 8-13-2 on the NHL season

Jessica McCallum-Miller receives her signed oath of office from city chief administrative officer Heather Avison on Nov. 5, 2018 after being elected to Terrace City Council. McCallum-Miller resigned on Feb. 22, 2021, saying she felt unsupported and unheard by council. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace’s 1st Indigenous councillor resigns citing ‘systemic and internalized racism,’ sexism

McCallum-Miller said in a Facebook post she felt unheard and unsupported by council

Temporary changes to allow for wholesale pricing for the hospitality industry were implemented June 2020 and set to expire March 31.	(Pixabay photo)
Pubs, restaurants to pay wholesale prices on liquor permanently in COVID-recovery

Pre-pandemic, restaurateurs and tourism operators paid full retail price on most liquor purchases

Summerland has received conditional approval for $6 million in federal funding to build a one-megawatt solar array to provide power to the community. (Stock photo)
Summerland council reaffirms solar project in 4-3 vote

Coun. Richard Barkwill had earlier written letters in opposition to initiative

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Lake Country residents are warned about another rock slide on Pelmewash Parkway, Feb. 23, 2021. (Melanie Marie photo)
Rockslide on old Okanagan highway

Pelmewash Parkway once again littered with debris

Most Read