iN PHOTOS: Deteriorating air quality in Kamloops - InfoNews

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iN PHOTOS: Deteriorating air quality in Kamloops

Hannelore Thorpe took her grandchildren to Riverside Park today, Aug. 3, but the smoke has been affecting her.
August 02, 2017 - 2:33 PM

KAMLOOPS - Have you ever seen it this bad?

Smoke has blanketed the city of Kamloops on and off for weeks now, but it appears to have deteriorated to its worst point today, Aug. 3.

The provincial government is currently putting the city's air quality index at 49, or "very high risk".  The next highest air quality health index rating in the province is Williams Lake, at 19.

Parks and public spaces in Kamloops are nearly deserted and visibility in the city has gotten worse through the day.

Kamloops resident Hannelore Eckerman has lived in the city since 1968 and says she has never seen it like this.

"It scratches your throat, your eyes tear," she says. "You can taste it."

Image Credit: ENVIRONMENT CANADA
She took her grandchildren to play in the river, but says they likely won't last long at the park due to the smoke.

"I almost feel like we shouldn't be out here, like we should be inside an air conditioned home," Eckerman says.

Environment Canada meteorologist Alyssa Charbonneau says there aren't historical statistics to compare the air quality to, so it's not known if this is the worst it's ever been in Kamloops.

The health index also wasn't designed for wildfire smoke, it was designed for pollutants and the health risks they pose.

"There’s no limit to the top end of the scale, anything above 10 is extreme," she says. "Once you’re above 10, it’s very bad."

Although Environment Canada's forecast expects smoke to clear in Kamloops by the weekend, Charbonneau says it could hang around longer if weather systems don't change.

"Unfortunately we don’t really see that changing too much as we look at the beginning of August," Charbonneau says. 

Elderly people and children especially are advised to stay indoors and avoid strenuous activities. People who need to be outside are advised to use N95 masks to help filter out particles.

This photo was taken at the same place, one with smoke one without.
This photo was taken at the same place, one with smoke one without.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Devon Moonie

The beach at Pioneer Park was nearly deserted today, Aug. 3.
The beach at Pioneer Park was nearly deserted today, Aug. 3.

The North Shore of Kamloops was barely visible from Lower Sahali today, Aug. 3.
The North Shore of Kamloops was barely visible from Lower Sahali today, Aug. 3.

Across the river from Riverside Park, you might mistake the smoke from nearby wildfires for a thick fog.
Across the river from Riverside Park, you might mistake the smoke from nearby wildfires for a thick fog.

Popular summer hangouts like the patio at Redbeard Cafe are left empty due to smoke.
Popular summer hangouts like the patio at Redbeard Cafe are left empty due to smoke.

The patio at Jamaican Kitchen is also empty as customer huddle inside to avoid the smoke.
The patio at Jamaican Kitchen is also empty as customer huddle inside to avoid the smoke.

Kamloops parks are empty on a weekday afternoon as parents keep their kids inside and away from the smoke.
Kamloops parks are empty on a weekday afternoon as parents keep their kids inside and away from the smoke.

Normally bustling with activity during the summer months McDonald Park is empty today, Aug 3.
Normally bustling with activity during the summer months McDonald Park is empty today, Aug 3.

West to East panorama of Mara Mountain.
West to East panorama of Mara Mountain.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Frank Rhebergen

Thick smoke is hiding blue skies.
Thick smoke is hiding blue skies.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Frank Rhebergen

Train coming through the smoke.
Train coming through the smoke.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Frank Rhebergen

Ord Road Ranches on August 1
Ord Road Ranches on August 1
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Frank Rhebergen

Alfalfa crops
Alfalfa crops
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Frank Rhebergen

Kamloops skies are clouded with thick smoke.
Kamloops skies are clouded with thick smoke.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Frank Rhebergen

The sun is red due to the smoke cover.
The sun is red due to the smoke cover.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Frank Rhebergen

What looks like fog is actually smoke at Tranquille farms.
What looks like fog is actually smoke at Tranquille farms.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Frank Rhebergen

Smoke from the Elephant Hill fire.
Smoke from the Elephant Hill fire.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Frank Rhebergen

Kamloops and surrounding area are all blanketed in thick smoke from surrounding wildfires.
Kamloops and surrounding area are all blanketed in thick smoke from surrounding wildfires.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Frank Rhebergen

- With files from Mike McDonald


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