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Smoky skies advisory issued for Okanagan

Skies remained smoky for about a week earlier this month.
July 22, 2015 - 7:23 AM

OKANAGAN - It may come as little surprise given the number of fires burning in the area, but a smoky skies advisory has been issued for the entire Okanagan.

The special air quality statement was issued by the Ministry of Environment and the Interior Health Authority yesterday evening, July 21, for the entire Okanagan, including Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton.

Bear Creek fire is named as one of the main reasons for the smoke in the air. Fires of note are also burning north of Bear Creek along Westside Road, near Falkland and near Oliver. There are also about 10 other active wildfires not considered of note, meaning they are smaller than 10 hectares and are not threatening structures.

Environment Canada notes smoke concentrations will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change. As of this morning, July 22, the air quality health index sits at two, or low, but is expected to reach a four in the North Okanagan and a five in the Central and South Okanagan regions later today. Yesterday afternoon the North Okanagan hit 5.8, the high end of the moderate ratings.

Earlier this month a smoky skies adivsory that last about a week was in place for much of the Southern Interior, as well as other parts of B.C.

People are asked to avoid strenuous outdoor activities during smoky skies. If you have difficulty breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways contact your health care provider. Infants, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions are particularly at risk.

Temperatures will be close to seasonal normals of 27 Celsius today and there is a 30 per cent chance of showers with risk of a thunderstorm in Kelowna and Vernon.

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

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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