Smoke to drift into North Okanagan, Shuswap | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Smoke to drift into North Okanagan, Shuswap

FILE. The Kelowna skyline covered in a smoky haze in 2017. More smoke is expected in the Okanagan in the days ahead.
July 10, 2021 - 10:00 AM

More smoke is expected to sink into parts of the Southern Interior with fires burning around the region.

Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement issued for the North Okanagan and  Shuswap, and extended the one already issued for the South Thompson and Nicola.

“Several regions in the BC Interior are being impacted or are likely to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24-48 hours,” reads the alert.

“Smoke may be widespread in some regions due to many active fires. Smaller fires in some regions may contribute to locally degraded air quality conditions. Localized precipitation may temporarily alleviate smoke conditions in some areas.”

The key indicator to look at during fire season is particulate matter, of which there are two classifications.

PM10 measures particles larger than 10 micrometres which are triggered by things like dust. The PM2.5 particles are smaller (2.5 micrometres and smaller) and come from fires and industrial pollutants.

They are so small (a micrometre is about the size of a human hair so a PM2.5 particle is 1/30th of that) that they can get into the lungs and even into the blood.

The Ministry of Environment’s objective is to have a 24-hour average of 25 micrometres of PM2.5 or less. But comparing daily averages doesn’t take into account that, with new fires starting and winds shifting, the air quality is quite volatile so current conditions may vary widely.

There have been 787 wildfires in British Columbia so far this season, 330 of those fires started within the last week. The #BCWildfire Service would like to acknowledge all personnel responding to the ongoing wildfire situation.



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