Where is the haze in the Thompson-Okanagan coming from?

Hazy days of summer

If you've noticed a haze hanging over the B.C. Southern Interior the last few days, you are not alone.

Castanet has received numerous calls inquiring about the source of the haze, so we reached out to the experts at Environment Canada.

Environment Canada Meteorologist, Armel Castellan says there was initially some thought that the haze may be related to a Saharan dust plume making its way towards the Gulf of Mexico, but they have since almost completely dismissed that idea.

"We think there are two other sources that are more likely to be bringing in the smoke that is causing these hazy conditions," says Castellan. "The fires to the south in Washington State are the most likely source of the smoke and there is also the possibility that there is some trans-Pacific transportation going on from Siberia."

Castellan says Russia's fire season is more advanced than ours at this time of year, so it's possible the jet stream may be carrying the smoke to our region.

Castellan says he has checked several air-quality sources and says all of the values are quite low which means there is no particular threat right now.

"It's not reaching the surface as much, or if it is, it's in such small quantities (of particulates) so as not to be a serious threat to people's health, at least currently."

BC Wildfire Service has also been keeping an eye on the situation, "we believe this could be the result of a southern air mass flowing through the region that is bringing smoke north from fires down in the United States."

Category 2 open burning have been permitted in the Kamloops Fire Centre since June 19, after it was determined that conditions have been wet enough to allow for burning.
Castellan says the weather pattern we have been experiencing, which is bringing wet and cooler conditions, has been helping to prevent wildfires, "this weather is very helpful in terms of dispersing air sheds (smoke or particulate). There's movement in the atmosphere so these kinds of particulate should be fairly transient in nature."

That means whatever is bringing the haze shouldn't last long.

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