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Kelowna  

Wildfire smoke expected to persist, mail delivery remains paused

Smoke to persist in Valley

UDPATE 5:10 p.m.

Canada Post has confirmed it suspended delivery in the Okanagan on Tuesday.

"Delivery will resume once it is deemed safe to do so," the Crown corporation said, adding "the safety of our employees is our number one priority."

Elsewhere in the B.C. Interior, “red” service alerts were put in place in Castlegar and Trail, suspending service. 

A “yellow” service alert was put in place for Kamloops, Cranbrook, Kimberly, Nelson and Vernon — meaning there may be service delays but Canada Post will still attempt to deliver.


ORIGINAL 1:55 p.m.

Canada Post appears to have suspended delivery in much of central and southern B.C. for the second day in a row due to poor air quality coming from forest fire smoke in the western United States.

On Monday, the crown corporation tweeted out that they were suspending service at 1:27 p.m.

So far Tuesday there has been no mail delivery at the Towne Centre Post Office on Bernard Ave. in Kelowna and many businesses in the downtown area of Kelowna have not received any mail from Canada Post.

One tweet on Monday indicated the service will resume once conditions are deemed safe: "...We are suspending delivery for the day and not sending our delivery agents out as conditions have made it unsafe."

According to the B.C. government's Air Quality Health Index, air quality on the south coast is at 10+, or very high, as is the air quality in the Okanagan.

The situation improves slightly as we move north with Kamloops reporting an AQHI of 5 as of 12 p.m. Tuesday, which is considered a moderate health risk.

When the AQHI is above 10, people are advised to avoid strenuous activities outdoors. Children and the elderly should also avoid outdoor physical exertion.

As for when the smoke will clear completely, Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist says we could see an improvement Tuesday in some parts of the region.

"It cleared out a little bit in Kamloops today, just there’s a northerly flow, a weak one that’s brought some cleaner air from the central Interior down to that part of the southwest Interior. 

"Even in Kelowna and the Okanagan here, at the high terrains you can see on the satellite imagery that the air is cleaner above the smoke that’s stuck in the valleys, so really the smoke is stuck in the valleys from about Kamloops down through the Okanagan."

However, he says a switching flow will send more smoke up Wednesday and Thursday, potentially clearing as we head towards the weekend.

"We’re really hoping for a lot more improvement towards the end of the work week or the first half of the weekend. That being said, it might not completely clear. Then there’s another system drawing up things next week so it’s kind of this back and forth … we’re not out of the woods completely yet."

Lundquist says even healthy people should refrain from outdoor activity at the moment, and instead plan to enjoy the outdoors when the air is cleaner.

To find updates on the Air Quality Health Index for your region, visit the Environment Canada website



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