Okanagan residents woke up, again, to thick wildfire smoke choking the region on Saturday morning.
According to provincial data, the air quality health index (AQHI) for the Central and North Okanagan was at the maximum possible setting, that being very high at 10-plus.
The province’s AQHI levels range from low (1-3) to very high (10-plus), and other regions in B.C.’s Interior also at 10-plus on Saturday morning were Castlegar, Kamloops and Williams Lake.
In Kelowna, specks of ash were noticeable on some vehicles in the downtown core. The area has been at 10-plus since Wednesday and is again slated to be very high for Sunday.
Notably, data from the South Okanagan isn’t available, though it’s projected to be at 10-plus as well.
Relief from the smoke, though, could be en route.
For Saturday, Environment Canada is forecasting a daily high of 36 C plus a mix of sun and cloud, along with winds from the northwest gusting between 30 and 50 km/h this afternoon.
In years past, winds have pushed thick wildfire smoke from the region. However, Environment Canada is still calling for widespread smoke in the evening.
For Sunday, the national weather agency is calling for clouds in the morning with a 30 per cent chance of showers changing to 70 per cent in the late afternoon.
Combined, the wind and showers could help clear the air or, at least, reduce how thick the smoke is.
In the meantime, ongoing smoky skies bulletin are still in effect for most of the Southern Interior, along with a heat warning, with temperatures expected between 34 and 39 degrees.
More information about those warnings can be found on Environment Canada’s website.