South Okanagan told to prepare for smoky skies | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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South Okanagan told to prepare for smoky skies

Smoky skies in the South Okanagan.
Image Credit: Breeze-o-metre
August 19, 2020 - 1:37 PM

As fire rages in the South Okanagan, previously pristine air quality is at risk of getting a bit soupier around the valley.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the 1,000-hectare Mount Christie wildfire prompted a smoky sky bulletin for Penticton, Summerland, Naramata, Keremeos, Oliver and Osoyoos.

“Regions of B.C. highlighted on the map are being impacted or are likely to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24 to 48 hours,”  the Ministry of Health bulletin stated.

Another tool that measures air quality, the Breezometer, illustrates exactly how bad conditions are near the heart of the blaze, rating air quality poor in some of the aforementioned towns and cities and declining in the rest.

Further away, however, conditions are currently considered good, though they recommend watching closely as the firefight drags on.

During a wildfire, smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour.

“Wildfire smoke is a natural part of our environment but it is important to be mindful that exposure to smoke may affect your health,” the bulletin stated. “People with pre-existing health conditions, respiratory infections such as COVID-19, older adults, pregnant women and infants, children, and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure.”

During smoky conditions, stop or reduce your activity level if breathing becomes uncomfortable or you feel unwell, the ministry recommends.

Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids.

Those who have asthma or other chronic illness, should carry any rescue (fast-acting) medications with them at all times.

Children and others who cannot care for themselves are asked to follow the same advice.

Complicating matters this year is COVID-19.

Exposure to wildfire smoke and the virus that causes COVID-19 can both result in respiratory symptoms such as a dry cough, sore throat, or difficulty breathing.


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