Watch that air

Madison Erhardt

That smoky sky from B.C. wildfires has prompted Environment Canada to issue a smoky skies bulletin for the whole of the Okanagan Valley.

“Smoke is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility,” said the statement.

The smoky skies bulletin includes: Kinbasket, North Columbia, West Columbia, East Columbia, Okanagan, Shuswap, Similkameen, Nicola, South Thompson, North Thompson, 100 Mile, Cariboo (North and South) and Chilcotin.

The North Okanagan is being warned of widespread smoke over the next two days.

Those in especially smoky areas are advised to avoid strenuous outdoor activities.

The smoke rolled in Sunday night prompting fear of new and nearby wildfires.

Vernon Fire Rescue issued a message stating there were no new wildfires near the city.

“It's very trying times for everybody right now,” said Mayor Akbal Mund. “It's a difficult situation but our Emergency Services and our Emergency Operations Centre and our fire services are doing a great job. We're organized. We're ready.”

Mund expressed dismay at the fire that began on Saturday in Lake Country that burned eight houses and is believed to be human caused.

“Everybody's got to be very vigilant....Everybody's got to be out there policing themselves. We are in an extreme fire situation in the Okanagan. We haven't seen a major fire in this area and we hope we don't but let's be vigilant out there and make sure.”

The City of Vernon is set up to receive up to 800 evacuees who have escaped from wildfires in the Cariboo region. At least 100 people had arrived Sunday.

Mund has urged people who have left the Cariboo to register with the Red Cross, even if they are staying with relatives or friends and don't need emergency services, so authorities and relatives know where they have gone.

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