Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement for the north, south and central Okanagan regions on Saturday (July 3), as smoke from wildfires raging across the province is expected to impact the air quality for the next 24 to 48 hours.
“Wildfire smoke is a constantly-changing mixture of particles and gasses which includes many chemicals that can harm your health,” said Environment Canada. “Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath.”
Children, seniors and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk, Environment Canada noted.
According to the B.C.’s Air Quality Health Index, the air quality in the central and south Okanagan poses a moderate health risk, but that is projected to drop to low risk on Sunday. For the north Okanagan, the air quality is at moderate risk and will remain so on Sunday.
In Kamloops, the air quality is considered a high health risk.
According to the BC Wildfire Service dashboard, have been a total of 613 wildfires this year in B.C., 175 of which are active. 247 fires have sparked this week alone, with 77 in the last two days.