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VIDEO: Interior air quality an island of low risk amid smoky B.C. skies

Smoky skies are making for quite the colourful sunsets in B.C.
July 06, 2015 - 2:30 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Yes there is a slight haze in the air and we can expect periods of local smoke, but the Interior is one of the better places to be today with air quality advisories being issued around the province as smoke covers much of B.C.

Currently air quality health indexes are low throughout the Interior, and they are forecast to stay that way through Tuesday. But Ralph Adams, an air quality meteorologist with the province, says that could change quickly.

“Right now, despite the haze, we’re still below an advisory level,” Adams says. “If conditions continue and we still have all these fires burning we’ll start getting to the level of advisories. Right now things are okay, but under these conditions things can change very rapidly.”

Adams notes the smoke causing advisories on the coast are from the fire in Pemberton, which has caused a ‘fairly spectacular’ plume of smoke. Smoke has been forecast to travel from as far as northern Saskatchewan as well.

A plume of smoke moves over Vancouver Island in June.
A plume of smoke moves over Vancouver Island in June.
Image Credit: Contributed

He explains that when you are closer to a fire the smoke will move around in valleys but will typically stay put for awhile, which can cause ‘very high smoke levels very quickly’ and the further you get from the fire the shorter the period of time the smoke sticks around for, in part because small changes in wind can more easily take it away.

For this reason, Adams believes the haze we are seeing in the air today is likely from closer fires, such as the ones near Ashcroft, Lytton, Barriere and Kelowna as well as several smaller ones throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre. 

“But whether (the smoke) is from close or far away is hard to tell under these conditions,” he notes.

Currently air quality advisories have been issued for the East and South Coasts of Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and surrounding area, Metro Vancouver and Fort St. John and the surrounding area.

Environment Canada is calling for temperatures to be in the mid- to high-30s and sun in the Souther Interior over the next week. The wildfire danger rating is currently high to extreme thoughout the entire province, including the Kamloops Fire Centre.

Credit: Adrian Wagner
Fires burning across B.C. are causing smoky skies and air quality advisories.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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