Wildfire smoke is impacting air quality throughout much of B.C.
Environment Canada issued a smoky skies bulletin for a large eastern portion of the province Wednesday, June 14.
The weather agency says wildfire smoke is tracking south through central and eastern B.C. Wednesday and Thursday. The southernmost regions in the bulletin will be impacted later Wednesday and overnight. Areas south and west of the regions may experience hazy conditions over the next 24 hours.
Air quality meteorologist Gail Roth says the smoke is coming from the large wildfires burning in the far northeast corner of B.C. and the far northwest corner of Alberta.
Roth says the weather pattern yesterday “opened the door” for smoke to come down the central and eastern regions of the province.
Unsurprisingly, the heaviest smoke impacts are being seen in areas near the large wildfires, such as Fort St. John and Tumbler Ridge.
“And then we’ve essentially had this big swath of smoke go down the eastern half of the province,” Roth said, adding the smoke has reached as far as the North Okanagan early Wednesday afternoon.
Overnight, it is expected that smoke will make its way to the southeastern corner of the province.
The smoke in the Okanagan is only expected to last a day or two, and Roth said she wouldn’t be surprised if it clears by tomorrow.
“It’s really weather dependent on how long that persists, but for the most part it’s more of a shorter term event in this case.”
Smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour by hour. People with pre-existing health conditions, respiratory infections, older adults, pregnant women and infants, children and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure.
Visit B.C.’s air quality health index online to see the air quality rating for your area.