Last Tuesday, smoke from wildfires in the states of California, Oregon and Washington drifted northwards, prompting what would be the first of a consecutive string of smoky skies bulletins and air quality statements for the region.
In the Southern Interior on that day, B.C.’s air quality health index (AQHI) rose sharply from low in the morning to its maximum setting.
With the seemingly stationary smoke still blocking views, Environment Canada issued yet another special air quality statement for the Okanagan on Tuesday, Sept. 15.
As of 10:30 a.m., AQHI levels were at the maximum 10-plus rating, as were other communities in southern B.C., including Castlegar, Comox, Nanaimo, Duncan, Victoria, the Fraser Valley and parts of Greater Vancouver.
Kamloops and Squamish had moderate ratings at 6, with Whistler and Prince Geroge. Elsewhere, Quesnel, Fort St. John, Smithers and Terrace were at 1, or low.
“Very heavy smoke from the United States is continuing to have extensive impacts across the southern third of the province, with lesser impacts extending into the mid-regions of the province,” said Environment Canada.
“Smoky conditions are expected to be variable but persist in areas currently being impacted until Thursday (Sept 17).”
Global News meteorologist Mark Madryga says there will be very little rain, if any, in most southern B.C. areas through Thursday.
He says along with weak wind, the smoke will remain, though it may thin during the afternoon with daytime heat.