Okanagan air quality improves slightly

Index for entire Okanagan Valley rated at 10+, or very high risk, because of wildfire smoke

  • Aug. 14, 2018 7:00 a.m.

You can breathe a bit easier today.

Environment Canada’s special air quality statement remains in effect for the Central, North and South Okanagan and the Shuswap, however the rating for these regions has improved since Monday.

Soupy conditions left residents of the Southern Interior with the worst air quality in the province, and an Air Quality Health Index rating of 10-plus. That’s a very high risk to the young, elderly and is generally not healthy for anyone to exert themselves in.

Today the rating for most the region is a five, though it’s supposed to rise later in the day.

“Wildfire smoke is a natural part of the environment but it is important to be mindful that exposure to smoke may affect your health,” says weather.gc.ca on its website.

During a wildfire, smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour.

See: Monashee complex wildfire update

Stay inside if you 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 general information about wildfire smoke and your health, contact HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 (toll-free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week).

Be air aware. Check your local weather forecasts and alerts so you know when to take extra care.

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.

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