Smoke from U.S. wildfires returning to Interior through weekend

Smoky skies returning

Those looking to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather should get outside Friday, as smoke is expected to return to the Interior through the weekend.

While the skies are blue above Kelowna Friday afternoon, the smoky skies bulletin that was put in place Tuesday will remain through the weekend, with wildfire smoke from the United States expected to creep back Saturday.

“It's going to deteriorate as we move forward in time. It looks like today is going to be the best day of the weekend,” said Carmen Hartt, meteorologist with Environment Canada.

“Tomorrow, we're seeing it move up to Kelowna, even Vernon, Salmon Arm and Kamloops as well. Everywhere in Southern B.C., we're expecting smoke Saturday during the day, and then Sunday the smoke is still with us, and Monday as well. Monday looks the worst.”

Friday, Environment Canada expanded its smoky skies bulletin to the entire southern half of British Columbia, extending north of Prince George. The area, which includes the Thompson-Okanagan region, is expected to see wildfire smoke over the next 24 to 72 hours.

Vancouver and Victoria are already seeing significant smoke from the United States on Friday.

“Smoke impacts due to long-range transport from wildfires in the western United States have already been observed in some areas of Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, and portions of the Interior,” the bulletin states. “Smoke forecast models indicate the potential for a significant push of smoke into B.C. throughout the weekend.”

Hartt says with the massive wildfires burning in Washington, Oregon and California showing no signs of slowing down, we're going to be facing the threat of smoke for several weeks.

“This weekend is going to be a smoky one for sure, with possibly some improvements by the middle part of next week. But we're definitely not out of the woods for the rest of fire season, into October probably, we'll be dealing with smoke episodes off and on,” Hartt said.

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