Smoke from the United States flooded into the Okanagan overnight. Above is Penticton seen from the West Bench area. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Update: Smoke from United States wildfires prompts air quality statement for Okanagan

Environment Canada anticipates the Okanagan will be nestled in smoke throughout the week

UPDATE: 11:45 a.m.

The Ministry of Environment has issued a special air quality statement for the Central, North and South Okanagan regions.

Smoke from wildfires in the United States has impacted air quality levels throughout most of the south B.C., they explained in a release Tuesday (Sept. 8) including Vancouver Island, coastal mainland, the Okanagan, as well as the Kootenays and boundary region.

The Ministry cautioned that those 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.

Those exposed to wildfire smoke are encouraged to take extra precautions to reduce their exposure.

Original:

Visibility and air quality is low in the Okanagan region after wildfire smoke from the United States travelled north and settled in valley bottoms.

Winds overnight (Sept. 7) blew smoke north from fires particularly in Washington. Smoke from Washington, Oregon and California is now trapped below the inversion.

“It’s all filtering down into the valley bottoms like into a bowl,” said Environment Canada meteorologist, Doug Lundquist.

BC Wildfire stressed the smoke is not caused by local fires.

“It’s not attributed to any fires currently in the Kamloops Fire Centre,” said fire information officer, Gagan Lidhran.

Currently the wind from a few thousand metres up, Lundquist explained, is clean. However, a weakening northerly wind throughout this week could cause the smoke to continue to drift in from the south.

He expects the clean air aloft, and the smoke hovering over the ground, will be ‘flirting’ with each other for the next few days.

“I think unfortunately it’s going to be a fairly bad week for us, because the ridge of high pressure is rebuilding and as the week goes by, that northerly wind aloft is going to weaken and we’ll just have that smoke continuing to want to push up from Washington and Oregon and California.”

“There’s fires everywhere, from B.C. to Mexico.”

READ MORE: Green Mountain Rd. wildfire deemed ‘under control’

A special weather statement was issued this morning for the Central, North and South Okanagan regions, predicting weather five to 10 degrees above the seasonal normal.

Today weather in Penticton was originally anticipated to be 26 degrees, however, Lundquist said this may have been over-forecasted.

Smoke has, and will continue to cause temperatures to drop.

“I’ll be surprised if we see a 30 (degree temperature) unless we can clear it out,” he said.

“If we could warm up enough over high terrain and mix down that clean air, it’s close, we are so on the edge of it, but I think we’re too close to really say that we’re not going to have problems with it throughout the week.”

Although an air quality advisory has not yet been issued by the Ministry of Environment, Lunquist anticipates one will be issued soon.

“It is a good time to be careful about being outside. We want to be outside so much because of COVID, and now the smoke is actually going to impact our own health, which is not great especially right now, come to think of it. We don’t really need the smoke just as we’re going into another perhaps bigger wave.

“All these things are stuff we need to keep in the back of our minds.”

READ MORE: PENSAR attends five rescues over Labour Day weekend

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

wildfire smoke

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelowna man injured during arrest sues RCMP

Supreme Court civil claim alleges Dustin Blondin was the victim of an ‘unprovoked attack’

United Way celebrates seven decades of impact in Southern Interior

Organization sees issues with poverty, mental health and addictions, heighten during the pandemic

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Museum offers a brief history of pandemics in the Okanagan

Greater Vernon Museum exhibit offers historical view of past outbreaks that affected the local area

Funding plan approved for downtown Vernon cultural centre

The funding strategy includes $4 million to be raised in the community

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Parks Canada not responsible for Mount Kobau blockade

Nearby residents have been vocal about plans to turn the area into a national park

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Most Read