Wildfire smoke: Central, North Okanagan at 10-plus ratings for air quality

A smoky view of Kelowna on Thursday, July 29, 2021. Global News

Air quality in the Central Okanagan has gone from bad to worse because of wildfire smoke.

On Thursday morning, the region’s air quality health index rating (AQHI) was at the province’s maximum, or worst, level — 10-plus.

The province’s AQHI rating system has four levels: low health risk (1-3), moderate health risk (4-6), high health risk (7-10) and very high (10-plus).

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On Tuesday afternoon, the Central Okanagan had a moderate rating (6) before spiking into the 10-plus range at 5 p.m.

Overnight, the levels fell into the moderate category before bouncing into the 10 rating on Wednesday afternoon. From there, they fell to 7 overnight before climbing up to 9 at 9 a.m., then 10-plus at 10 a.m.

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The Central Okanagan isn’t the only region at 10-plus as of Thursday morning: so, too, were the North Okanagan and Castlegar.

Kamloops was rated at high (10) while, notably, the South Okanagan had no rating.

The province says AQHI values for the South Okanagan will be unavailable until a new permanent air quality monitoring station is established.

Click to play video: 'Kelowna Weather Forecast: July 28'
Kelowna Weather Forecast: July 28

However, Global Okanagan scenic cameras show variable conditions throughout the South Okanagan.

Wildfire smoke in Penticton seems slightly lighter than in Kelowna and Vernon, though wildfire smoke in Osoyoos seems to be worse than in Kelowna or Vernon.

More about the province’s AQHI can be found on its website.

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