Smoke: high health risk

UPDATE: 11:30 a.m.

Rain this weekend is expected to wash away the smoky skies.

Donna Haga, Air Quality Meteorologist Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy said there is "perhaps some precipitation, which would help wash some of the smoke out of the air."

Weather patterns last week were causing smoke to go towards the coast, where typically smoke comes across west to east but Haga said the winds can change quickly and right now there are so many fires it doesn't really matter which way the winds are going.

“This summer has been a pretty bad year for wildfires so of course the smoke comes with the wildfires," she said.

The satellite images show the smoke is stagnant and not moving very much.

ORIGINAL: 9:30 a.m.

A special air quality statement is still in effect for the entire Okanagan as smoke blankets many areas.

The air quality health index rating for the Central, South and North Okanagan is currently at seven out of a 10-plus scale.

That means a high risk to health and that people should consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if they experience symptoms such as coughing or throat irritation.

Smoke from surrounding wildfires has hung over the Okanagan for all of August, with little relief.

Environment Canada is forecasting rain this weekend in some areas, which could help alleviate some of the smoke. Currently, rain is forecast on Sunday in Kelowna.

The high health risk is expected to stick around Friday for all parts of the valley.

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