The Ministry of Environment has issued a Smoky Skies Advisory for the entire Thompson, Fraser Canyon, Okanagan, Similkameen, Nicola, Boundary and Shuswap areas because of forest fire smoke that is affecting the area.
Smoke concentrations will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change.
Officials say large fires in Washington State, Oregon and California are sending plumes of smoke into our province.
Avoid strenuous outdoor activities.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider: difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways.
Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and lung or heart disease.
Castanet has heard reports of heavy smoke in the Vernon area. The Wildfire Management Branch says there is a smaller 11 hectare fire burning 60 kilometres east of Vernon deemed the Teepee Creek Fire.
Fire Information Officer Kelsey Winter says the fire is lightning caused and no structures are threatened. Air tankers and ground crews are attacking the fire now.
This smoke advisory will remain in effect until further notice.
Tips to reduce your personal health risk:
- People with heart or lung conditions may be more sensitive to the effects of smoke and should watch for any change in symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure. If any symptoms are noted, affected individuals should take steps to reduce their exposure to smoke and if necessary see their physician. People with symptoms should go to their health care provider, walk in clinic or emergency department depending on severity of symptoms.
- Use common sense regarding outdoor physical activity – if your breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity.
- Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids.
- Smoke levels may be lower indoors, however levels of smoke particles will still be increased. If you stay indoors, be aware of your symptoms.
- Consider visiting a location like a shopping mall with cooler filtered air. Keep in mind that staying indoors may help you stay cool and provide some relief from the smoke, however many air conditioning systems do not filter the air or improve indoor air quality.
- Reduce indoor pollution sources such as smoking or burning other materials.
- You may be able to reduce your exposure to smoke by moving to cleaner air. Conditions can vary dramatically by area and elevation.
- Residents with asthma or other chronic illness should activate their asthma or personal care plan.
- Pay attention to local air quality reports, air quality may be poor even though smoke may not be visible.
- Commercially available HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters can further reduce poor indoor air quality near the device.
- Maintaining good overall health is a good way to prevent health effects resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.