Smoke from wildfires has forced the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy, in collaboration with the Interior and Northern Health Authorities to issue a Smoky Skies Bulletin for most of the Central and Southern Interior of the province..
The Smoky Skies Bulletin includes: 100 Mile, Arrow Lakes - Slocan Lake, Boundary, Cariboo North, Cariboo South, Chilcotin, , East Columbia, East Kootenay, Elk Valley, Fraser Canyon, Kinbasket, Kootenay Lake, Nicola, North Columbia, North Thompson, Okanagan, Prince George, Shuswap, Similkameen, South Thompson, West Columbia, West Kootenay, Yellowhead and Yoho Park - Kootenay Park.
"Smoke concentrations will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change," the Bulletin said.
"Avoid strenuous outdoor activities. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider: difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and lung or heart disease."
This bulletin will remain in effect until further notice.
"Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.
"People with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, can be particularly sensitive to air pollution. They will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels. Pollution can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital visits."
The public is advised to remain inside if they have breathing difficulties.
"Find an indoor place that's cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. If you open the windows you may let in more polluted air. If your home isn't air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned."
For more information on current air quality, see: www.bcairquality.ca.
Visit www.airhealth.ca for information on how to reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels, as well as for current and forecast AQHI values.
Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada.
Locally, Harrop Creek wildfire is now estimated at 2532 hectares but remains zero contained. BC Wildfire Serives currently has 85 firefighters, four helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment on the fire.
Twenty firefighters are battling the 85 hectare Kokanee Creek wildfire.
Meanwhile crews are making headway with the McCormick Creek fire 20 kilometers southwest of Salmo. The fire is 40 percent contained. Thirty-four person crew is on the ground with 12 pieces of heavy equipment and four helicopters fighting the blaze.
Highway 6 from the Highway 3 juction to the Canada/US border at Nelway remains closed due to the McCormick Creek wildfire.