Air quality diminishes in Okanagan as wildfire smoke blankets the region | Kelowna News | iNFOnews

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Air quality diminishes in Okanagan as wildfire smoke blankets the region

Overlooking Swan Lake in Vernon, hazy skies can be seen across the North Okanagan.
August 10, 2018 - 11:48 AM

Skies are hazy over the Okanagan today as smoke from wildfires across the province blankets the region, but it could clear up as soon as tomorrow.

The province's air quality health index is currently measuring the North Okanagan's air quality at a six today, Aug. 10, which is moderate health risk, while the Central and South Okanagan regions are being measured at a five, which is also moderate.

Smoke began to move out of Kamloops with winds yesterday, as the city smashed a 120-year-old heat record for the day. But Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan says with the temperature reaching 41 C, it actually makes yesterday the hottest August day ever recorded in the city.

Kamloops's air quality is currently rated at a three, or low risk, but Castellan says things are only going to improve when it comes to air quality across the Southern Interior this weekend.

"It's good news on the air quality front for most locations," Castellan says. "All of the new weather is actually going to push a lot of changes for the air quality, which will be for the better.”

That's mostly due to a low pressure system that will be moving across the province beginning tonight, when air quality levels are expected to lower in all of the regions.

The system could pose a risk for more fires though, Castellan says, because thunder and lightning could hit some areas along with sporadic but possibly intense rain showers tomorrow. Strong winds associated with the system could also fan the flames.

Some showers may hang around on Sunday, but temperatures are expected to rebound to the 30s by early next week.

Facing west on Highway 97 in Kelowna, smoke from wildfires across the province is posing a moderate air quality risk to the Central Okanagan.
Facing west on Highway 97 in Kelowna, smoke from wildfires across the province is posing a moderate air quality risk to the Central Okanagan.

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