Smoke has begun to dissipate in B.C.'s Interior Saturday

Smoke begins to clear

Those in B.C.'s Interior woke to an unfamiliar sight Saturday morning – the sky.

After smoke from U.S. wildfires blocked out the sun across much of Southern B.C. for close to a week, the smoke has partially cleared Saturday morning in many areas, including the Central Okanagan.

While the smoke still remains, visibility in the Okanagan Valley has improved dramatically.

This past week, the air quality health index across the Okanagan hit a 10+ on the 10-point scale, which means a “very high health risk. But Saturday morning, the Central Okanagan and Kamloops currently sit at a three, while the North and South Okanagan are at fours.

But farther east, Castlegar remains smoky, with an air quality health index of 10. 

At times this week, Vancouver had some of the worst air quality amongst cities around the world, but as of Saturday, it's no longer in the top 50 worst cities.

Despite the improvements, a smoky skies bulletin from Environment Canada remains in effect for a more than half of the province.

“Further improvements will continue across the province west to east with widespread improvement by Sunday,” the bulletin states. “In the central portions of the province, smoke will be visible aloft with potential for light-moderate impacts at the surface.”

Earlier this week, Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist warned the smoke may return to the region sometime next week.

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