Get used to those thick, smoky skies in the Southern Interior | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Get used to those thick, smoky skies in the Southern Interior

The Thompson River in Kamloops is barely visible through a thick screen of wildfire smoke on Aug. 13, 2018.
August 13, 2018 - 11:30 AM

The air quality across the Thompson-Okanagan has deteriorated over the weekend due to wildfire smoke, and it's not yet clear when things will improve.

According to the provincial government's air quality health index, cities across the Thompson-Okanagan are experiencing very high risk for air quality, all of them measured at 10+. Matt MacDonald, meteorologist with Environment Canada, says smoke will likely hang around the region at least until the end of this week.

The increased smoky skies in the region is in part due to a storm system that moved across over the weekend, particularly Saturday evening into Sunday morning, MacDonald says. He says in some respects the winds helped move smoke out of the area, but in turn fanned the flames of fires across the province.

"After that system blew through, we had momentary improvement in air quality, and then the winds were out of the northwest, so the whole Nechako Fire Complex is where we were getting all that wildfire smoke from," MacDonald says. 

Over the next week, MacDonald says not much wind is expected in the Southern Interior, which means nothing will be clearing the smoke out of valleys.

"We very well know that the smoke is going to persist," he says.

The Environment Canada online forecast only shows smoky conditions for two to three days, but MacDonald says the following three to seven days are almost guaranteed to include smoky skies.

"With this ridge persisting at least into the beginning of next week, I'd expect smoke to be here for at least the remainder of this week if not longer," he says.

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